WASHINGTON – Someone is stealing used cooking oil.
It might sound a bit innocuous, but cooking oil crimes are a growing trend, locally and across the country.
In 2011, Arlington County police made several arrests for used cooking oil thefts, and since the beginning of 2012, Prince William County police have been investigating similar thefts.
“Apparently (the thefts) are known to occur across the country,” says Prince William County police spokesman Jonathan Perok. “Since early 2012, we’ve noticed and received multiple reports about used cooking oil being reported stolen from different businesses.”
The police department began investigating and, over time, developed suspect and suspect vehicle information.
Local restaurants have contracts with companies that turn the used cooking oil into bio fuel, like bio diesel. Perok says it was originally the bio fuel companies that began reporting the thefts.
According to Perok, when the companies arrived to pick up the used cooking oil, they found that the oil was either gone or that there was less than the usual amount. He says businesses store the oil behind their restaurants, typically in locked containers.
In November, local police made one arrest in a cooking oil case. Chun Hyung Kim is charged with attempted grand larceny, possession of stolen property and possession of burglarious tools. He heads to court in February.
Although officials have identified a second suspect in the case, police are still looking for him. Sung Yeop Yoo is charged with conspiracy to commit grand larceny and possession of burglarious tools.
Anyone with information on cooking oil crimes is asked to call Crime Solvers at 1- 866-411-TIPS (8477).