As Oil Prices Soar, Restaurant Grease Thefts Rise

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bandit pulled his truck to the back of a Burger King in Northern California one afternoon last month armed with a hose and a tank. After rummaging around assorted restaurant rubbish, he dunked a tube into a smelly storage bin and, the police said, vacuumed out about 300 gallons of grease.

The man was caught before he could slip away. In his truck, the police found 2,500 gallons of used fryer grease, indicating that the Burger King had not been his first fast-food craving of the day.

Outside Seattle, cooking oil rustling has become such a problem that the owners of the Olympia Pizza and Pasta Restaurant in Arlington, Wash., are considering using a surveillance camera to keep watch on its 50-gallon grease barrel. Nick Damianidis, an owner, said the barrel had been hit seven or eight times since last summer by siphoners who strike in the night.

“Fryer grease has become gold,” Mr. Damianidis said. “And just over a year ago, I had to pay someone to take it away.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources

Posted May 31, 2008 at 1:37 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Saint Dumb Ox wrote:

Most places are willing to give it away anyway.  Why steel it…just ask the owner.

If only I owned a diesel

May 31, 4:22 pm | [comment link]
2. Saint Dumb Ox wrote:


May 31, 4:23 pm | [comment link]
3. Rick in Louisiana wrote:

I’m sorry - “siphoners”?!?

So how is that first, uh, mouthfull?

May 31, 5:37 pm | [comment link]
4. saj wrote:

.. actually they no longer are giving it away.  It has become more common place for people to have vehicles that can use the manufactured diesel.

May 31, 6:35 pm | [comment link]
5. Irenaeus wrote:

“Fryer grease has become gold. And just over a year ago, I had to pay someone to take it away”

A good example of how higher prices promote conservation and curtail waste.

May 31, 7:53 pm | [comment link]
6. Harvey wrote:

I am curious as to the present cost of kerosene??  The reason I ask is that a good friend of mine in Hunstville AL operated his “altered” car on kerosene during the entire years of WWII.  Kerosene was considerably cheaper than gasoline at that time and did not require any government gasoline use stamps.

May 31, 9:22 pm | [comment link]
7. Jim the Puritan wrote:

Ten years ago we used to worry about complying with the Clean Water Act by not having grease go into the sewage system. Everyone with restaurants had to build new systems to trap the grease.  Now it’s worth something.

May 31, 9:39 pm | [comment link]
8. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

The Hamburglar has moved on beyond McDonalds!  That will give Ronald an Evil Grimace.  Mayor McCheese will have to put Chief Big Mac on the case or Captain Crook and the Hamburglar will doom all the french fry goblins to being baked!  Oh, the horror!

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.

May 31, 11:00 pm | [comment link]
9. Alta Californian wrote:

Good gracious, there as a Simpsons episode where Homer and Bart go around stealing grease.  It was funny because it was so absurd.  Now it’s actually happening?  Yeesh.

June 1, 10:15 pm | [comment link]
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