Theft Of Used Cooking Oil On The Rise Amid High Gas Prices

Frying pan with vegetable oil in the kitchen.Vegetable oil on a frying pan. Preheat the oil

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BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - That old cooking oil and grease is becoming more valuable, especially with the rise in demand for bio-fuel.

Recently police in Salem N.H. reported an unusual crime, where three men from New York were caught allegedly siphoning used cooking oil from a trap behind a local restaurant. Police said as gas prices go up, these crimes are becoming more and more common.

Police say criminals are stealing the used oil and then selling it to companies that use it to make biofuel.

Rory Gaunt is the CEO of Boston-based Lifecycle Renewables and said there is such a thing as a black market for the used grease and oil restaurants leave in traps. He said the rising gas prices are leading to a bigger black market for the used oil, which is impacting not only restaurants but also efforts to go green.

"Its very valuable our company is using it to offset heating oil use and other fossil fuels use in our cities, such as Boston and the surrounding area, so it's really a great clean burning commodity to replace fossil fuels." Gaunt said.

Preventing accidents and incidents caused by thieves should be a high priority for restaurants, he told WBZ's James Rojas. Gaunt suggests making sure restaurants have security cameras in place and report any suspicious activities to local authorities.

In December two men were arrested in Oxford, after they were allegedly caught siphoning cooking oil from a restaurant there.

The National Renderers Association estimated as much as $75 million in grease is stolen each year, and cases are on the rise. Demand for biofuel may be the reason for the increase in similar incidents around the country.

WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasNews) reports

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