A band of 21 composers stole $ 3.9 million worth of used cooking oil, known as "yellow fat" from restaurants in three states and transported it across the country, according to a federal charge unsealed in North Carolina on Thursday. 19659002] The thieves were targeting several dining outlets in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia over five years. They have pumped the oil from restaurant storage tanks to trucks and sold it.
"Used cooking oil has become a sought after product from biodiesel companies, and restaurants use the sale of this oil as a second source of income," said John Eisert, who serves as a specialty business in the home security studies in Charlotte, NC, said in a new release. "This team of co-conspirators had a comprehensive scheme to steal thousands of liters of cooking oil for their own profits in violation of several US laws."
Used cooking oil has become a valuable commodity for biodiesel companies. The oil-producing industry loses between $ 45 million and $ 75 million for oil-making every year. US lawyer Robert Higdon Jr. said in the release.
A pound of "yellow fat" is estimated to be worth about $ 25 according to the United States Agriculture Department.
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In April, a Virginia man in charge of stealing hundreds of oils from a Burger King and three men in 2014 were charged in the theft of 10,000 gallons of oil in Illinois, according to The Associated Press.
Six of the defendants mentioned in the federal charge are still being sought. In addition to the theft charges, several defendants were also accused of violations of immigration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.