A 36-year-old Staten Island man was arrested Friday morning after police allegedly found him stealing 800 pounds of used cooking oil from a holding container behind two Long Island restaurants.
Authorities say Joskey Henry was removing oil from a container shared by New York Pizza and New China Restaurant on New York Avenue in Huntington when he was spotted by two Suffolk County Police officers around 6 a.m. He allegedly had his van up to the container and was sucking oil out of it.
"The subject used a gas powered sludge pump to remove the oil and put it in tanks that were set up in the van he was driving," Suffolk County Police Sgt. Michael Morse said.
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Morse said that the oil is an expensive commodity and that each recycled pound is worth about 24 cents. That's $192 for 800 pounds of oil.
"When you add that up in bulk you're talking serious money," Morse said.
New York Pizza owner Alex Canlales said Darling International, which owns the container, pays him hundreds of dollars for the oil that he puts out.
"A month, $300. $350," he said. "Depending on how many gallons are in the container."
Jack Palladino, the head of the Huntington Restaurant Association, said he hasn't heard of other businesses complaining about stolen oil, but that the thief was going through more trouble than it's worth.
"I can only imagine it's somebody using it for personal reasons, maybe for biofuel? For vehicles?" he said.
Henry faces petit larceny charges. Police are trying to determine if he's linked to similar cases in Suffolk County.