Government Fleet Top News

Grease Thefts Up as Biodiesel Gains Traction in Northern California Restaurants

September 3, 2008

MONTEREY, CA – Hidden behind many Northern California restaurants, tanks of used deep-fryer grease have become like pots of gold for thieves looking to cash in on a spike in demand for biodiesel. And drivers for a Northern California rendering plant who rely on the grease for their livelihoods said such thefts have become a pain in recent months, according to

The grease is recycled at Chico-based North State Rendering to be sold for fuel and as a supplement for livestock feed. North State Rendering’s drivers collect grease from restaurants as far away as southern Oregon in the north and Sacramento to the south.

Demand has spiked in recent months, thanks to the biodiesel demand. But, a jump in thefts followed. Using motorized suction pumps and tanks in the back of pickups, the thieves take about 50,000 pounds of the grease each month, which costs the company about $15,000.

The company files police reports, but arrests are rare.


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