DAR PRO Solutions cooperated with Dallas/Fort Worth's NBC investigative reporter, Scott Friedman, to look into the problem of grease theft. We're sharing his independent report here.
Grease theft may sound like a petty crime - but the thieves committing it aren't.
If you're reading this page, you probably already know your used cooking oil has value. In fact, our company has invested much time and money to lead the way in the development of using recycled animal fats and used cooking oil to produce environment-friendly, low carbon, clean-burning biofuels.
Unfortunately, others have also watched the value of your cooking oil increase. Along with the rise in used oil value has come an increase in incidents of grease and used cooking oil theft and the proliferation of disreputable ‘restaurant service companies’. Many of those stealing our customers' grease are not the sort of individual our customers would want on their premises. A look at their rap sheets finds most have served time or have previous arrest records for crimes ranging from petty theft, to assault, carrying illegal weapons, sexual assault, and even murder. If they can't find work in the mainstream market, middle men find them, sending them out to commit the theft, which they then sell to disreputable biofuel producers who don't ask where the grease came from. We continue to work diligently with our own security team, our customers, and local authorities to put an end to grease theft and bring these criminals to face justice. It threatens revenue and personal safety, and even the enviroment when the grease is illegally dumped into creeks, orpastures or spilled during the act of theft.
The first line of defense against grease theft is to only do business with a licensed, professional service provider who will provide complete service records, fully explain their method of calculating pricing and rebates, and can offer you theft-deterrent equipment. Sadly, the best of practices won't stop a determined thief.
If you witness an incident of theft:
- FIRST, call your local law enforcement authorities to report the grease theft. We are continually working with local law enforcement in major hot beds around the country to inform them of this crime.
- NEXT, call your regular grease service provider (DAR PRO customers should call us toll-free at 1-855-DAR-PRO1, answered 24/7).
- Do not risk personal safety by trying to stop a theft yourself; as said earlier, many of these 'grease thieves' are serious criminals who have served hard time.
- Write down the license number and description of the getaway vehicle (only if it's safe to do so).
- Report the time of day the theft occurred, or any other helpful information.
Signs your grease has been stolen:
- Visual signs of access to your grease bin (a broken fence or barrier, or bin is out of place)
- Grease is spilled in your parking lot (beware - grease run-off into sewer drains could bring about environmental fines, as well as slips and falls)
- The grease level in your bin is down, and your service provider was not scheduled to empty the bin
Steps you can take to prevent grease theft:
- Secure your grease! The most secure method is to move it indoors. If that's not possible, an exterior locking shed is a secure option, or lock down your outside bin.
- Install cameras around your property that include your trash and grease corral – is the fencing around your corral secure?
- Install lighting that illuminate the area – thieves don't like to be seen.
- Monitor the grease levels in your bin; if you see the level is low and your contracted service provider has not made a scheduled pickup, let your service rep know you suspect theft.
- Install an alarm in your greae bin that sends mobile alerts if the oil level drops unexpectedly.
- Know what your contracted service provider looks like - visually know their truck, their uniform, their logo.
- Inform neighboring stores and especially restaurants of the prevalence of grease theft - the more eyes watching, the more likely theft will be spotted and reported.
By taking grease theft seriously, and working together as partners, we can help authorities put a stop to this crime.
Grease theft doesn’t only affect us – it can threaten your employees, your customers, your neighbors, even the environment.
DAR PRO Solutions offers the industry’s most diverse lineup of automated used cooking oil storage systems that increase theft prevention and virtually eliminate the threat of grease theft.
We can also make it more difficult for thieves to take grease from your outdoor bins, securing them with locking devices and solid steel grates that our service technicians can easily access, but impede a potential theft so they move on to an easier target.