Two Alleged Grease Thieves Arrested in Arlington

Four Ballston Mall restaurants raided

Friday, Oct 14, 2011  |  Updated 7:10 PM EDT
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Arlington County police arrested two people for allegedly stealing large amounts of used restaurant cooking oil. Investigators said there are 200 similar thefts across the D.C. area. The booming bio diesel market has helped turn the food waste into

Darcy Spencer

Arlington County police arrested two people for allegedly stealing large amounts of used restaurant cooking oil. Investigators said there are 200 similar thefts across the D.C. area. The booming bio diesel market has helped turn the food waste into "liquid gold" for some.

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One man's trash can be another man's treasure, according to the old adage.

So what does that make used restaurant cooking oil?

According to Arlington police, two men, one from Oxon Hill and another from New York City, saw something worth stealing in vats of used oil at the Ballston Mall.

Fa De Zheng, 36, of Maryland, and Ming Gang Lu, of New York, were picked up by police for siphoning off used oil from four Ballston restaurants.  The crimes allegedly happened in March. 

Authorities were notified of the thefts by Greenlight Biofuels, a company that actually pays restaurants for their used grease.  Greenlight converts the waste into clean burning diesel fuel.

Arlington police said this type of crime is becoming more common.  As the market for alternative fuels grows, the price of used grease climbs too.

The two accused thieves are charged with grand larceny, grand larceny with intent to sell, possession of burglarious tools and destruction of property.

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