Restaurant Grease Becoming “Hot” Item

John Davis

Just when you thought thieves had run out of new things to steal, now the old grease from restaurants has become the latest pilferable item.

Officials are blaming the home-made biodiesel craze for making criminals out of people who just might not have realized that’s it’s wrong to take that used cooking oil. Some probably good-intentioned folks have been taking the old oil to make new, green fuel.

This article in the Cincinnati Enquirer says the problem has gotten so bad that companies such as Griffin Industries, Inc. – a grease, animal by-product waste, and grocery scraps recycling company – has had to hire folks such as former cop Larry Findley to stop the crime:

Grease thieves will often sneak behind restaurants at night, break the locks on containers and spill grease everywhere, said Findley, who has worked for Griffin Industries for 16 years. Thieves will often make off with 1,500 pounds of grease in one haul and sell it for between 10 and 15 cents a pound, Findley said.

A new type of grease thief has emerged in recent years. Average people concerned more about fuel efficiency than the street value of grease have been caught pilfering grease traps, Findley said.

Biodiesel conversion kits have encouraged people to steal grease to run their car on it, he said. Many think they are entitled to the grease.

“This is a recent phenomenon. These people are the worst kind of thief,” Findley said. “They don’t know they are stealing. The Internet is replete with how to make this stuff. They have no idea what they are doing.”

And officials say these thefts are costing the restaurants as the criminals are trying to take as much grease as fast as they can and end up spilling a lot of it on the ground in the process… creating an environmental hazard.

So the next time you think you see the Hamburgler behind that fast-food chain, it might just be an eco-thief. C’mon folks, let’s be honest about how we get our feedstocks, please!