NEW YORK - Thieves have been targeting New York City restaurants and foodservice establishments not for the cash in the register, but for the used cooking grease in the alley, the New York Post reports.
The used fryer oil, generally left in vats for contracted companies to pick up, is being siphoned off by crooks and sold for 38 cents a pound. "It€™s really crazy out here with this grease," said Eddie, a driver who collects used fryer oil. "I went to one of my stops, and I actually saw a guy pumping grease out with a vacuum cleaner."
Restaurants and other retailers that use cooking oil for foodservice, leave the used grease in containers outside for a licensed carting company to pick up and dispose of. The pick-up company sells the used fryer oil, which is recycled into biofuel for diesel engines. As fuel costs rose, so did the number of thefts for cooking oil.
"We€™ve experienced many break-ins since the first of the year," said Edward Gunderson, president of M&E Soap. He thinks his company has had 5% to 10% of its business stolen during the past year. "They can walk out with $200, $300 or $500 worth of material."
Earlier this year, one company, Darling International, filed a lawsuit in an effort to get law enforcement to take the thefts of used cooking grease seriously.