Two men were caught stealing used cooking oil from restaurants in Arlington, police said.
Fa De Zheng, 36, of Oxon Hill and Ming Gang Lu, 38, of New York were arrested and charged with grand larceny, grand larceny with the intent to sell, possession of burglarious tools and destruction of property, according to an Arlington County police news release.
The company Greenlight Biofuels first contacted police about the thefts in September. They suspected the thefts had been occurring since March, citing at least four restaurants that had been struck, the news release said.
On October 7, police saw the two men attempting to siphon used oil deposit at the Ballston Mall.
The men were converting the waste into clean-burning biodiesel fuel.
Biodiesel is an alternative to petroleum diesel that can be used in any diesel engine.
Typically oil thieves steal from restaurants and go unnoticed 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 news release said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Paul Marseilles at (703) 228-4237. Det. Marseilles can also be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Witnesses can also call the Arlington Police Tip-Line at (703) 228-4242.