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Well, you knew this was bound to happen. Used fryer grease is now a huge target for thieves. Restaurants couldn't pay to give the stuff away a year ago, but now they are installing surveillance cameras to keep a watch on the "liquid gold."

And get this: apparently processed fryer oil, called "yellow grease," is actually traded on the commodities market. In 2000, it traded for 7.6 cents a pound; now it trades for 33 cents a pound, which is about $2.50 a gallon. It is so valuable and such a target now, one of the nation's largest grease collection and rendering companies has hired detectives to investigate these thefts.

Since most restaurants put their used grease in big vats with their trash, the lawyer representing some of the thieves that have been arrested is claiming that it isn't actually theft, because once you put something in the trash, it is abandoned property. The restaurants, however, don't see it this way.

And neither to the people who have legitimate contracts with restaurants to collect the used oil. Ben Healy, the owner of Healy Biodiesel in Sedgwick, KS, said that on one particular night not too long ago, the oil was stolen from 9 of the 15 restaurants he has a contract with.

So, all you restaurant owners: time to watch not only the cash registers, but the grease barrels.

Source: NY Times