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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s been an increase in used cooking oil thefts from area restaurants.

Vegetable oils and animal fats can be turned into Biodiesel fuel and restaurants in Philadelphia and the suburbs are cashing in getting a dollar plus per gallon for the used oil.

And thieves are hot for it.

Patrick Conway is the President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.

“Common practice is the restaurants will put used cooking oil in containers out back of the restaurant, but what we are seeing now, with increase incidents of theft, we are seeing the collectors sort of moving to determine how they can protect this product,” explains Conway.

One way is by keeping it under lock and key so it won’t be scooped up by the wrong person.

“Years ago restaurants had to pay companies to haul this used cooking oil away and today actually they are being paid,” Conway says.

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