Used cooking oil from local restaurants stolen for black market

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Thieves are making big money stealing from unsuspecting restaurants selling their used cooking oil on the black market.

“It’s really professional,” said Manager of Shogun Lou Sulindro.  

Criminals have turned oil into biodiesel at unsuspecting spots from Scotia to Hudson like La Fiesta, Tengu Asian Bistro and Shogun.   

“I don’t know how they can steal it, what equipment they use to steal the oil,” Sulindro said.  

The Shogun manager said there’s no financial impact for them, but it’s costing companies that remove the oil, like Buffalo Biodiesel, millions of dollars.  

“We’re in a position where we’re losing $300,000 a week, or to extrapolate that, about $15 million a year,” said Sumit Majumdar.

Majumdar is the president of the company.   

“From the arrest records that we have, a person just in his van is making $1,000 to $1500 a day in cash so that turns into about $400,000 a year,” Majumdar said.  

He says in Albany County they’ve recorded 267 break-ins at various locations. It’s something frustrating for Majumdar because suspects like Lenin Sepulveda have been arrested multiple times.  

The cost of biodiesel has skyrocketed recently making the theft an even more lucrative business. Majumdar hopes police and lawmakers will take this more seriously because he says these aren’t petty crimes.  

“They need to look at this not as used cooking oil or garbage theft. This is organized crime that’s stealing oil and they’re making millions of dollars,” Majumdar said.  

There’s a senate bill that hasn’t made it out of committee to create criminal and civil penalties to help stop these slippery criminals.

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