Exclusive: Alleged Cooking Oil Thieves Caught On Camera
South Florida Crime
FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Two Miami women are accused of pulling off a slippery crime at several Broward restaurants.
“This is amazing?” exclaimed Eric Lesperance as he sat in his truck recording undercover video.
What was so amazing is that he was watching the two women stealing used cooking oil from tanks behind restaurants on Las Olas Blvd. They were caught in the act.
“I got it perfect bro,” Lesperance said to his friend. “You got no idea, I got it so perfect right now.”
Lesperance was getting video of the theft. He’s one of the owners of Greenwave Oil. Greenwave buys the used cooking oil, and then sells it for bio-fuel.
He was shocked when he found out who was arrested, two women, Yusleydis Ramirez and Lorraine Rivera. Both work for a competitor in Miami.
“We lost about 10-20 thousand a month from people stealing this oil from behind our restaurant,” he explained. “When I saw women, I was like, ‘Oh my God’ and they’re young women.”
The women he caught in the video work fast, when they get to a barrel, Lesperance said they use a special apparatus to get the oil.
“Either they’ll cut into this grate,” he said, pointing to a grate on the top of the barrel. “Or they have some sort of special tool. We call it an octopus, which has small tubes that go in between the grates to then extract the oil.”
The guys at Greenwave first realized they were being ripped off by using hidden cameras. They saw someone days earlier at another location. They figured out it was employees from a competitor, so they started following them.
“We’ve been following this company and a few other ones for a few months now,” said Greenwave co-owner Jon Solin. “We’ve spent a lot of time and resources on this. Just on surveillance hardware alone we’ve spent a few thousand dollars.”
Police say the women hit four places on Friday, stealing from four different oil companies.
“These girls committed felonies,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Lt. Frank Sousa. “They’re serious crimes and they’re going to face charges for what they did.”
Companies like Greenwave are now offering a reward for cases like this. Greenwave and other companies plan to continue the video surveillance and hidden cameras to try to put a stop to this very expensive theft.