New York men caught stealing cooking oil from CT restaurant, police say

LEDYARD — Two New York men were charged with stealing cooking oil from a pizzeria in Gales Ferry early Wednesday, police say.

Officers were called to Village Pizza on Route 12 just before 2 a.m. for a possible burglary. Police discovered that two men stole the restaurant’s cooking oil from a locked storage tank, the Ledyard Police Department said in a news release Wednesday.

Police received a report that the two suspects were traveling north on Highway 12 in a white truck. Connecticut State Police later tracked down the suspects on Route 12 in the Cardinal Lane area, police say.

The suspects – Samy Figueroa Sosa, 23, and Marichal Reyes, 26, of Bronx, NY – have been charged with aiding and abetting, fourth degree robbery, third degree criminal mischief and third degree criminal trespassing.

Each was being held on $25,000 bonds and appeared in New London State Superior Court on Wednesday.

Cooking oil thefts have become increasingly common in Connecticut. In June, police in Naugatuck and Old Saybrook said cooking oil was stolen from restaurants in their communities.

“There is a black market for petroleum because it is easily converted into biodiesel fuels,” said Ledyard Police Captain Kenneth Creutz. “Thieves are stealing barrels of this oil or siphoning it off barrels at the back of restaurants.”

Creutz said the thieves get “a high price” for oil on the black market – around 25 cents a pound. Although cooking oil is the latest trend, Creutz said it resembles copper and scrap metal thefts.

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