Hemet, CA – A pair of suspects believed to be involved with the theft of cooking grease from an area McDonald’s location have been arrested. Both individuals were picked up by police on Friday.
According to UPI, the McDonald’s franchise owner alerted authorities to the situation. The unidentified man said he was waiting inside the restaurant for the suspects to return. When the alleged thieves came back later that night, the manager picked up the phone and called police.
Authorities said they arrested 22-year-old Noel Portillo and 24-year-old Ricardo Robles at the scene of the crime. Both men were sitting inside a truck outside the restaurant. Police said a metal tank possibly used in the transportation of the cooking grease was in the bed of the vehicle at the time.
The Associated Press reports that police took a look at the surveillance footage from the restaurant before placing both men under arrest. It’s believed the suspects were stealing the cooking grease in order to sell it. Companies use the grease for biodiesel fuel and have been known to pay between 30 to 40 cents per pound.
Police reportedly impounded the suspects’ truck after taking the men into custody.
The Press-Enterprise reports that cooking grease thieves have started targeting fast food restaurants all across the nation. In order to cut down on the number of incidents, new laws are quickly being put into place.
In places like North Carolina, efforts are being made to make the theft of cooking grease a felony. Those who are convicted of the crime could find themselves spending a fair amount of time behind bars.
According to the State Journal Register, grease thieves are targeting smaller businesses as well. The Amber Jack Alehouse in Springfield, Illinois reported that someone was stealing grease from the restaurant earlier this month. The owner estimates that roughly $200 worth of grease was stolen by thieves since last August.
Do you think the theft of cooking grease should be considered a felony?