Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weird Crime Wednesday: Simpsons did it first, but grease thieves really are becoming a problem

(photo @ ranker.com)


The classic Simpsons episode 'Lard of the Dance' is about get rich quick scheme by Homer involving the sale used cooking grease for profit. (There's a subplot about Lisa trying to fit in with the cool kids, but whatever).  

When his initial undertaking yields $0.63 from cooking $27.00 worth of bacon, Homer and Bart decide to try another product supply method: Stealing grease from the fryers at their local fast food restaurant, Krusty Burger. When the pair are thwarted by the Springfield grease mafia, they move onto the mother of all grease gold mines: The school cafeteria.

Unfortunately, Homer and Bart are caught, chastised, and violently thwarted by a surprisingly buff Groundskeeper Willie for stealing what famously refers to as his "retirement grease". The show ends with the failure of Homer's grease business inadvertently helping Lisa to have a good time at the school dance (it's kind of hard to explain if you haven't seen the episode).  The credits role, many laughs were had, and we were blessed with some amazing one liners and quotes like this one:




But what only seemed like a ridiculous plot device in a Simpsons episode has reared its ugly head in our reality. In 2008, a story broke in the New York Times about a spike in grease theft from restaurants (or "cooking oil rustling," as they called it) coinciding with the sharp increase in oil prices. Apparently the grease from cooking fryers, or "yellow grease" as it's called on the streets, is a valuable commodity for making biodiesal engine fuel.

                                                                                virtualgourmet
Pictured: Super producers of an alternative energy source


With gas prices now reaching Mad Max: Road Warrior levels and grease reportedly selling for 38 cents a pound (and $1.60 per gallon on the "black market"), it seems that the grease racket has become a very viable form of criminal profiteering.  Below are just a few examples from the past year:


November 9, 2011

Brothers Ryan and Gary Vaughn are caught stealing grease from a Chinese restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri.  Many other St. Louis grease thieves, however, remain at large. 

Dooley's Grill claims to have been victimized by grease thieves 7 times in the last year. The St. Louis Wing Company claims to have lost over $2000 worth of deep fried liquid gold due to multiple thefts, as well. 

February 22, 2012

38-year-old Yonkers, New York resident Andrew Carnegie was arrested after employees at Five Guys Burgers caught him syphoning their grease into two 275-gallon containers in his van.

     Pictured: A man who realized he should have been willing to make more than one trip.


March 6, 2012

New York couple Madeleine Garcia and Terry Webb were stopped by police for running a red light. When the officer noticed that Terry's forehead was coated in grease, he inspected their van. Inside he found grease stealing equipment and and two large containers filled with sweet liquid gold.

March 24, 2012

Apparently St. Louis is quite a hotbed for grease related crime.

Bryan Aston and Landon Thomas were caught stealing grease at two St. Louis area restaurants. The looks on their faces in the mug shots implies that yes, these men truly are aware how lame it sounds to be arrested for grease theft. 



April 27, 2012


Bogdon Todorov Yordanov and Aldin Bajric  are caught by a police officer while attempting to steal grease from a Chili's restaurant in New Port Richley, Florida.

     Pictured: Two men completely unworthy of their James Bond villainesque names/appearances.


May 19, 2011


Cindy Harris (a former employee at a grease rendering company) and Jesse Moore are busted by police after an officer noticed that their tanker truck "reeked of stale french fries."

The pair had embarked on a two state grease stealing crime spree in Nebraska and Illinois, amassing over 4,200 lbs.of product from various fast food establishments.

     No caption necessary.


June 6, 2012


Two men get away with stealing $400-$500 worth of grease from a restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts restaurant.  While that bit of information doesn't really stand out from the others by itself, it's worth noting that the the report states the thieves were using "unmarked cars."

You know things have just been kicked up a few notches in the crime world when that phrase starts getting tossed around.

 



And so the grease crime wave continues to plague our fair land, along with news reports that insist on using terrible puns about thieves "slipping up" or "striking oil."

Hopefully, our nation's law enforcement officers can put a stop to this before vigilante justice starts becoming a viable option for restaurant owners.


...and mentally unbalanced Scotsmen.