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Police: 2 suspects arrested for stealing used cooking oil from 14 Suffolk businesses

The suspects, 30-year-old Oliver Lorenzo Valdez and 28-year-old Juan Hernandez, appeared in court on Wednesday.

Caroline Flynn

Jun 26, 2024, 10:38 AM

Updated 17 days ago


Two Long Islanders are facing 14 petit larceny charges after allegedly stealing used cooking oil from multiple Suffolk County restaurants.
Suffolk Police say 30-year-old Oliver Lorenzo Valdez, of Central Islip, and 28-year-old Juan Hernandez, of Brentwood, committed the crimes across Suffolk County between April and June.
According to officers, one of the locations was Bagels 101 in Middle Island. News 12 stopped by the business Wednesday, the manager said he was not aware of the theft.
The theft, he explained, likely occurred behind the business. It’s where a dumpster is located for the particular waste.
"When we use cooking oil what we will do is take it from there, come out, pour it in to there and then just close the dumpster and leave,” explained Vinny Proscia, manager at Bagels 101.
They share the dumpster with Meltology, a grilled cheese shop next door to Bagels 101 that Suffolk police say was also targeted.
A News 12 crew noted what appeared to be surveillance cameras fixed on the dumpster.
Suffolk police say that criminals typically take used cooking oil from dumpsters or drums and during overnight hours.
The theft at Bagels 101 occurred around 8 in the morning on June 13, which unnerved Proscia.
He said, “that’s like broad daylight. You have people running around, usually out back and everything like that. Just crazy."
An employee of Mahoney Environmental who clears the waste from dumpsters said he witnessed the two men stealing used cooking oil outside nearby Shah’s Halal Food on June 13.
Elijah Garcia Lopez, with Mahoney Environmental explained, “I noticed a van sitting by our oil container and they had the lid bent upwards with a 2 by 4 under the lid and they were draining it with a hose in to the back of their truck."
Garcia said for 15 minutes he watched, and recorded, the men. They left before officers arrived.
Used cooking oil is lucrative to thieves as it can be converted in to renewable diesel and sold on the black market.

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