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Two Men Arrested for Theft of 'Liquid Gold'—Used Cooking Oil From Supermarket

Salvador Alvizar, 24, and Danovan Arevalo, 25, were arrested on suspicion of stealing used cooking oil on Thursday at the Albertsons in the 33600 block of Del Obispo Street in Dana Point.

Forget , the new way to make a quick buck is via by reselling “liquid gold,” or used cooking oil that can be converted into biofuel. 

And it’s happening close to home.

On Thursday, Salvador Alvizar, 24, and Danovan Arevalo, 25, were arrested on suspicion of stealing used cooking oil around 5 a.m. at the in the 33600 block of Del Obispo Street in Dana Point. Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman, Jim Amormino said both men work for DW Waste Management, a company that uses used cooking grease to make biodiesel fuel.

"We received a call from an employee at Albertsons that a large crate of cooking oil was stolen," Amormino said. “It can be turned around and sold on the street for about $1 a pound and is used to make biofuel. This stuff is like liquid gold and it's becoming more popular. On May 15, between 500-600 gallons was stolen from the same store, but we cannot be sure it was the same two men.”

The men’s DW truck was spotted shortly after the call came in by a deputy about a mile away on PCH near Denny’s, Amormino added.

“It was confiscated, towed and is presently in police storage,” Amormino said. “This is the same used grease that restaurants sell to the waste management company. Albertsons fries chickens and has a deli, it also has grease. The men do have legitimate contracts to pick up used oil from various restaurants in the area, but these men do not have a contract with this Albertson's.”

In Laguna Niguel restaurants and businesses are working to keep food waste including used cooking grease out of landfills.

From April through November 2010, Laguna Niguel diverted 127.03 tons of food waste through the CR&R Food Scrap Composting program. 

CR&R began the program with more than 35 food establishments across Orange County, including Laguna Niguel’s   and , in an effort to record how much food waste from commercial food establishments can be diverted from the landfill. 

Food Waste Facts:

  • Californians overall throw away more than 5 million tons of food waste each year.
  • A restaurant, on average, disposes of more than 50 tons of organic waste every year.
  • In a slow economy Amormino said it is not unusual for every day items such as used cooking grease and laundry detergent to be sold on the black market for fast cash.

    “In my opinion, a crook is a crook in good times, and in bad times,” Amormino said.

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