Biofuel Bust: Alleged cooking-oil thieves caught on camera stealing for alternative energy company

Yusleydis Ramirez (left) and Lorraine Rivera were arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. after allegedly being caught on video stealing used cooking oil from tanks behind restaurants.
CBS Miami

(CBS) FORT LAUDERDALE - Alternative energy may be fueling a new kind of crime - the theft of used cooking oil that can be converted to biofuel.

Two Miami women are accused of pulling off such a crime at several Broward County restaurants, CBS Miami reports.

"This is amazing!," exclaimed Eric Lesperance, as he sat in his truck recording undercover video.

He was watching the two women stealing used cooking oil from tanks behind restaurants on Las Olas Boulevard.

According to CBS Miami, Lesperance is one of the owners of Greenwave Oil, which buys the used cooking oil, and then sells it for bio-fuel.

The station reports that the "cooking oil crooks" - Yusleydis Ramirez and Lorraine Rivera - both work for a biofuel competitor in Miami.

"We lost about 10-20 thousand (dollars) a month from people stealing this oil from behind our restaurant," Lesperance said.

Lesperance said the women use a special apparatus to siphon the used oil from the top of a barrel.

"We call it an octopus, which has small tubes that go in between the grates to then extract the oil," he said.

"We've been following this company and a few other ones for a few months now," said Greenwave co-owner Jon Solin. "We've spent a lot of time and resources on this. Just on surveillance hardware alone we've spent a few thousand dollars."

Police say the women hit four places on Friday alone, stealing from four different oil companies.

"These girls committed felonies," said Fort Lauderdale Police Lt. Frank Sousa. "They're serious crimes and they're going to face charges for what they did."