MARATHON, Fla. – Why would anyone want to steal about 300 gallons of used cooking oil from a holding tank at a restaurant in the Florida Keys? It happened on Tuesday in Marathon, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives accused two men from Miami-Dade County of stealing the used cooking oil from Herbie’s Bar & Chowder House, at 6350 Overseas Hwy., just west of a Monroe County Fire Department station.
Reynier Rivero, of Hialeah, and Yadriel Zaragoza, of Miami, were in a white van when they siphoned the oil into two 250-gallon containers, according to deputies.
The owner of the restaurant said he contracts with a company to collect and recycle it, according to deputies.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection regulates over 200 registered used oil handlers. The recycling companies then turn the used cooking oil into animal feed, biofuels, industrial lubricants, and even detergents.
There is a growing used cooking oil market that experts valued at $5.97 billion in 2021 and expect to be worth over $10 billion in 2028, according to Fortune Business Insights analysis of the world markets.
Records show Gonzalez, 36, and Zaragoza, 24, who both had left eyebrow slits, were facing grand theft charges in Monroe County. Deputies estimated the value of the stolen cooking oil at nearly $1,300.
Detectives were asking anyone with information about this or other similar cases in Monroe County to call Lt. Nancy Alvarez at 305-481-8060.