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MCSO: Suspected Cooking Oil Thief Arrested

Martin COunty - Monday January 24, 2024: Martin County Sheriff (MCSO) deputies have arrested 24-year old Yadriel Luis Zaragoza of Miami on allegations of stealing used cooking oil.

Used cooking oil is a multi-billion dollar business, according to a post on the MCSO Facebook page. Used cooking oil is used to make bio diesel and the growing demand for it, and the price it can fetch, has prompted an increasing number of thefts of used cooking oil.

Zaragoza was already known to authorities. He is a suspect in the theft of more than 300-gallons of used cooking oil from a restaurant in Monroe County.

When he drove into Martin County deputies identified his vehicle and a CID surveillance team followed him to at least 20-local eating establishments, where, MCSO says Zaragoza conducting his own surveillance on potential targets.

None of those establishments gave permission for anyone to tamper with their oil storage containers.

When detectives stopped Zaragoza they found crowbars and tools used to commit burglaries inside his vehicle. Zaragoza said he was on his way to Orlando when his GPS somehow directed him to get off in Martin County.

Although he did not stop to dine at any of the restaurants, Zaragoza could not explain why he stopped at any of them. He was charged with possession of burglary tools.