There's a relatively new type of theft happening around the Capital Region and it targets local restaurants.  The thieves aren't after what's in the safe, they're after what may have cooked your last meal. Used cooking oil.

Frank Scavio is the owner of five Albany area Paesan's Pizza locations. He tells CBS 6 that there has been a massive increase in cooking oil thieves over the past few months.

Probably once a month we'll have different vans or vehicles pull up in the back and they've been sifting what they call 'liquid gold'.

Surveillance video from February shows a tanker vehicle pulling around 4:30 in the morning behind a Paesan's location.

CBS 6 via Paesans
CBS 6 via Paesans

The thieves target a container in the back of the restaurant, attach hoses and siphon the oil out of the container. Generally, restaurants sell the used oil is sold to a companies that can convert it into biodiesel fuel. Scavio says that's income he's losing.

We get vegetable oil, so we get to sell it back to actually help offset some of the costs. So now we don’t get that back. you know in the end, I’m going to have to pass it off to my consumer, which we really don’t want to.

On Monday, Paesan's posted photos on Facebook of alleged 'oil bandits' caught in the act, as they were stealing used oil in broad daylight.

Paesan's says they've been working with the Colonie Police to catch the thieves. Police say they believe the oil bandits are coming from out of state.

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