In the South Bay town of Morgan Hill, Calif., a 49-year-old Illinois man was arrested for illegally pumping left-over cooking grease from a Burger King franchise into his tanker truck. He was caught "greasy handed."
Nearly everyone interviewed in the accompanying CBS News clip has a hard time restraining their chortles -- what nut would want to steal used french fry grease? Even the grease bandit, David Richardson, has a grin on his face in his mug shot. But in the next breath, they all acknowledge, that yes, wanton grease thievery is a distressing sign of the times. With truckers in Georgia protesting the high cost of diesel, used cooking oil that can be converted to biodiesel is becoming a hot commodity.
This is not a particularly new crime -- way back in 2000, Susan McCarthy wrote a hilarious story on "Grease Rustlers" for Salon. But the economics are interesting.
Richardson worked for a Nevada company called Restaurant Oils of America that trucked used grease to a facility in Atascadero, Calif. paying $1.35 a gallon -- 55 cents higher than Nevada prices, according to CBS News' Len Ramirez. So the 300 gallons stolen from Burger King was worth about 400 dollars to Richardson.