A series of thefts hit the northeastern United States, including several businesses in our region, and the thieves sought out the cooking oil.
ARCHBALD, Pa .– Surveillance footage taken in March shows one of the owners of Bud’s Bar & Grill in Archbald confronting a thief who emptied the restaurant’s vat of used cooking oil and flew away.
“I guess the guy must have had a hose hooked up to his truck, and he was siphoning oil from our dumpster,” co-owner Kathy Poronsky said.
Many restaurants, like Bud’s, sell this leftover cooking oil to biodiesel companies. It’s extra income that has proven to be invaluable in difficult times.
“We have a hard time staying open, so every little bit counts. So when they take that from us, they take it from us to help our employees get better paid, pay bills, just about anything,” Poronsky said. .
Idle Hour Lanes in Dickson City has been hit three times, to his knowledge.
These surveillance photos from June 1 show the most recent theft.
Idle Hour Lanes in Dickson City
“We get residual income [from the biodiesel companies], it’s not a lot, but it’s still just a slap in the face for the people who are trying to be honest here and make a living honestly, “said Shane Gallis, one of the owners of Idle Hours Entertainment. .
Companies like Buffalo Biodiesel go through these companies every two months to collect used cooking oil stored in tanks and recycle it into diesel fuel.
Based in New York State, Buffalo Biodiesel posted on social media reports of dozens of thefts per day in the northeastern United States.
“It’s precious. People are getting over $ 4.50 a gallon,” Olyphant Police Officer Timothy Cramer said.
At Luigi’s Pizza in Olyphant, 500 gallons of oil were stolen last week.
“When I filed my report, the police said it was a much bigger problem than you might think. It’s pretty much organized crime. They steal the oil and then sell it on the black market.” , said owner Vincenzo Cicco.
Business owners say thieves seem to be getting more daring.
The Bud’s thief took the oil during normal business hours, as customers walked in and out of the bar.
Police ask people to be on the lookout for anything suspicious, such as people without official uniforms or vans without logos.