Florida men arrested over theft of thousands of dollars of cooking oil

Three men were allegedly caught stealing 330 gallons of oil by pumping it out of restaurants

Amelia Neath
Friday 22 December 2023 13:22 GMT
Rui Lin, 49, Yunqui Chen, 35 and Zengyu Liu, 42 were arrested for grand theft
Rui Lin, 49, Yunqui Chen, 35 and Zengyu Liu, 42 were arrested for grand theft (Port Orange Police Department)

Three Florida men have been accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of cooking oil from multiple restaurants.

Rui Lin, 49, Yunqui Chen, 35 and Zengyu Liu, 42, were all arrested for grand theft following multiple oil robberies throughout the Port Orange area, according to police.

Port Orange Police Department said in a statement that multiple restaurants had been broken into overnight and their cooking oil stolen – with 330 gallons stolen in total.

After one of the recent thefts, a corporate security officer for DAR PRO Solutions, a grease management company, began working with the Port Orange police to track down the suspects, according to an affidavit obtained by Fox35.

The night before the three men were arrested, the corporate security officer had followed two suspicious vehicles – one car and one box truck – spotted driving away from a location that had been the target of a previous theft.

He followed them to another location where he witnessed two men remove a hose from the box truck and use it to suck out around 150 gallons of cooking oil from a DAR PRO tank.

That night, the suspects allegedly pulled up at two other locations and stole oil totalling around $1,036 in value, the outlet reported.

The men were tracked down by a security officer who saw them stealing oil (Port Orange Police Department)

Police managed to intercept the vehicle in a traffic stop near a Target store on Dunlawton Avenue and took the three men into custody on Saturday.

Their large box truck – which is allegedly outfitted with a pump used to steal the oil – was also seized under the state’s Felony Forfeiture Act.

Mr Chen and Mr Liu allegedly told police that they were employees of “Green Power” and had been told to pick up the oil.

Yet, neither of them had work orders or documentation to back up the claims.

The men claimed they were employees of a company telling them to pick up the oil (Port Orange Police Department)

"When asked how he knew what oil to retrieve, (Mr Liu) advised his company’s logo. Liu stated he was not sure how they obtained the location and could not provide further," the affidavit reads, according to the outlet.

Mr Lin reportedly would not speak to officers.

He is also suspected of being involved in another theft of over 7,000 pounds of cooking oil in Flagler County back in October 2022, police said.

Investigators now believe the trio may be part of a much larger organisation that has been responsible for stealing thousands of dollars worth of oil throughout the local area.

All three men have since been released from custody in Volusia County after posting $2,500 bond.

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