‘Grease Bandits’ Hit Jacksonville Area Restaurants

By Benjamin Cox on September 29, 2023 at 7:52pm

Jacksonville restaurants were recently hit by a new kind of criminal ā€“ grease bandits.

The Jacksonville Journal Courier reports that at least two Jacksonville area restaurants have been struck by used grease thefts in the past month: My Buddy’s BBQ and The Burgerboard.

My Buddy’s BBQ and Catering owner Buddy Fore says this was a first for him of hearing of this type of crime in this area.

He says it’s become a common crime elsewhere: “What they do is they take the oil and turn it into biodiesel. Apparently, it is a common thing because the grease company actually has a private investigator that investigate people stealing from their customers.”

Fore says he captured the theft on his outside security camera: “The way I could tell is that the reputable business usually shows up at my place in a big red truck with the name on the side. These guys were just in a white van. They jumped out with working vests on, so they kind of looked like they fit the role. They opened up the back of the van and pulled a hose out. They must have had some kind of contraption in there, but they were in and out in probably 10 minutes. I probably had the vat three-quarters of the way full because it was about time for them to come dump it. They didn’t take all of it but they took about half of it.”

Fore says that he’s unsure of how much the thieves drained from his outdoor used grease vat, but he says it was approximately half of a nearly full vat. He says that the loss amounts to approximately $50-$75 for his business. Fore says he’s not worried about getting anything back from the theft, but he does want the thieves caught.

If you have any information on these thefts, you can contact the Jacksonville Police Department at 217-479-4630 or you can leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 217-243-7300.

Oil theft results in lost revenue, totaling more than $40 million each year in the United States. Additionally, the containers sustain damage during the theft, costing more than $3 million. Those crossing state lines to commit this type of crime can receive federal criminal charges when they are caught.