HAUPPAUGE - A Yonkers couple is accused of stealing hundreds of gallons of used cooking oil from Suffolk restaurants.
Police say they caught 40-year-old Domingo Santos and his girlfriend, Vanessa Liriano, in the act at around 8 a.m. Sunday.
An officer recognized their van at a Hauppauge restaurant.
Police say the couple had about 650 gallons of oil from 16 restaurants in their possession at the time of their arrest.
They say the oil, which is usually refined and sold as biofuel, is worth about $2,000.
Investigators say the theft of restaurant oil is part of a recent trend where robbers break into restaurant containers, remove used cooking oil, store it and then resell it.
Environmental Services, Inc., based in Yaphank, collects cooking oil from roughly 15,000 restaurants on Long Island and in Queens. The company reimburses the restaurants for the oil, then refines it into biofuel and an ingredient for animal feed.
Santos and Liriano were arraigned on multiple charges, including criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny.