Men Arrested, Accused of Stealing Used Cooking Oil

by ARLnow.com October 14, 2011 at 10:30 am 4,597 31 Comments

Arlington County police have arrested two men in connection with a string of biofuel thefts.

Police say the thefts started in March 2011. Used cooking oil that was awaiting collection was stolen from at least four restaurants, police say.

“The waste cooking oil from restaurants is converted into clean burning biodiesel fuel,” police sad in a statement. “Biodiesel is an alternative to petroleum diesel that can be used in any diesel engine. Typically these oil thieves steal from restaurants and no one notices until the normal collection company arrives to pick up the product.”

“Theft has become a major issue in the restaurant cooking oil collections industry, due to the increase of its value from the evolving biodiesel market,” the statement continued. “Police departments in the region are becoming more involved to remedy this problem.”

Police say they arrested 36-year-old Fa De Zheng of Oxon Hill, Md. and 38-year-old Ming Gang Lu of New York City on Friday, Oct. 7, as they were attempting to siphon oil from a deposit at Ballston Common Mall. The pair is charged with Grand Larceny, Grand Larceny with the Intent to Sell, Possession of Burglarious Tools and Destruction of Property.

Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to call Det. Paul Marseilles at 703-228-4237 or email [email protected].

  • The restaurants have to pay the waste company to collect the oil, and the waste company sells it to a biofuel processor. I would bet the waste company is the prosecuting entity here. If these dolts were smart, they would just approach the restaurants and find one willing to give it to them regularly for free. The restaurant would likely save money on their waste collection bill.

    • CW

      I know that in the early days, when biofuel meant a guy straining out oil for his old diesel benz, places were more than happy to give it away. But now I wonder if the restaurants get a kickback from the collection companies, some fraction of the value?

      • Perhaps. You would think there are greater crimes in Arlington to chase. Maybe they should chase some cab drivers grabbing boobies instead.

      • JamesE

        Actually the new Dremos was going to completely run off biofuel supplied by these two for a low cost, that is why the dream is now over. It was part of the cost savings needed due to lack of investors.

    • Chris M.

      My guess is that the restaurant is liable for proper disposal, and I don’t think these guys are exactly licensed and insured. Maybe they could work on building a business model.

    • Jim E.

      Actually, Valley Proteins near Winchester VA, collects the waste oil for processing ingredients primarily for the cosmetics industry. Currently, nearly all commercial biodiesel is soy-based.

      • Jim E.

        Also, until about 2006 or so, most restaurants, schools, churches, etc.had to pay Valley Proteins to haul it away. Since the increased interest in WVO (waste veggie oil), Valley Proteins has been negotiating, even paying for it in some cases.

  • Richard Cranium

    What’s with the 45-degree head angle?

    • Rick

      Lets more light hit the mustache

    • Johnny Utah

      Chinese Gangsters

  • novasteve

    Kinda feel better about people stealing cooking oil than bikes, cars, breaking into homes, etc…

    • JB

      Not if you’re the owner of the collection company that depends on there actually being oil you’ve been contracted to collect in order to pay your employees and put food on your table.

      • Steve

        So you’d rather someone, armed, break into your house, and put everyone’s lives at risk, violating your own home, your privacy, rather than someone steal cooking oil from a public area?

        • Bob

          How about neither, dumba**?!

      • #OccupyBiofuelCollectionCompany

        Capitalist Pig! Biofuel should be free to the masses!

  • outoftowner

    Simpsons did it!

    • FrenchyB

      That’s Willie’s retirement fund!

      • NrNy2ArlVa

        don’t forget Homer eating all that bacon…..mmmmmm bacon

    • Lou

      I’m surprised it took that long for someone to say it.

  • just thinking…..

    I hope the Arlington Police are coordinating with the FBI. A multi-state Chinese mafia operation concerning waste oil is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Ed

    I would not be surprised if this gets picked up nationally as an “odd news” bit. Friday release, perfect for the weekend.

    So do your fellow inmates respect you when they learn you’re in for stealing cooking oil?

    I wonder how much these guys actually earn??

    “I’d get a regular job flipping burgers, but I don’t want to be stuck in that greasy kitchen all day . . . “

  • V Dizzle

    Isn’t it China where they have just started cracking down on restaurants taking and reusing waste oil…but for cooking? And by cracking down, I mean doing something about it for a week because it got into the foreign press. I forget the details.

  • brendan

    That’s quite a bit of background the police provided on biodiesel…

    • CW

      Maybe Det. Nosel is taking handouts from the biodiesel lobby?

  • GetReal

    free biodiesel = $19 fare on the Chinatown bus to NYC

  • charlie

    inmate one: “what are you in for”
    inmate two: “murder, you?”
    inmate one: “stealing Bailey’s Douche Bars’ Cooking oil from a vat in the Ballston Common Mall. Why do you ask?”
    inmate two: [would be edited by arlnow]

  • TGEoA

    What a bunch of greaseballs.

  • NrNy2ArlVa

    If they had just waited until the lights went out, they probably would not have gotten caught.

  • V Dizzle

    Good trolling. Yes, we’re all outraged by this heinous crime.

  • (another) Greg

    “‘The waste cooking oil from restaurants is converted into clean burning biodiesel fuel,’ police sad in a statement.”

    Why were the police sad in a statement about this? Did it depress them too much to think that people are now turning to stealing used cooking oil to eke out an existence?


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