NASSAU COUNTY, LONG ISLAND (WABC) — Two more Long Island men have been arrested for stealing oil from Nassau County restaurants.

Suffolk County police on Thursday arrested Hector Castrol-Espinal, who they say stole cooking oil from the Chick-fil-A in Huntington Station several times this year.

The next day, police arrested Melvin Howell and Rodney Lofton in connection with similar crimes.

Officials say the two stole oil from nine restaurants:

Palazzo Leonardo in Great Neck

Stresa Restaurant in Manhasset

IHOP in Manhasset

The monster crab at Carle Place

Fyhre Hibachi Sushi Lounge on Carl Place

Garden City Mint

The Cheesecake Factory in Westbury

Chick-fil-A in Westbury

Benihana Restaurant in Westbury

Authorities say they found a white Isuzu truck matching the description of the vehicle involved in these thefts.

The two suspects were taken into custody and charged with petty and grand theft and other related charges.

Police say Espinal, a man who was arrested for oil thefts in Suffolk County, stole from the restaurant on five separate occasions since January.

He pumped the oil into a rented truck and then resold the oil, authorities said.

It turns out that the oil can be used for many other things besides cooking – such as in products that use biodiesel.

“The oil is reprocessed and sold at a lower price, either for use in cooking oil or heating oil, or for use in cosmetics or other uses for the reprocessed oil,” Suffolk County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief William Scrima said. .

Police say it’s a nasty and growing problem that they suspect is rising at the same rate as inflation. Companies like ESI in Yaphank, which process vegetable oil, stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars as prices rise and thieves expand the illegal trade.

As of March 31, one hundred pounds of vegetable oil is up to $62, up from $59 at this time last year. In June 2019, it was $25.

Business in New Jersey is blood theft tracking in the Garden State.

Authorities believe more businesses have been targeted. If anyone believes they are the victim of a crime, call the police at 631-852-COPS.

READ ALSO Dozens of New York school districts have been targeted by “sweeping” threats


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