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Posted on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 10 a.m.

Thief swipes trailer with $8K worth of used cooking oil

By Cindy Heflin

A thief made off with a trailer full of oil in Ypsilanti Township sometime in the past two weeks, but it wasn’t fuel oil. It was the oil used to cook up batches of French fries and chicken fingers.


A similar tanker trailer to the one reported stolen.

The trailer was full of used cooking oil, and the contents were valued at $8,000. The trailer itself was valued at $20,000. Cooking oil has become a hot commodity for thieves, recent media reports indicate.

Just how did thieves make off undetected with a 42-foot tanker full of oil? That’s a mystery at this point.

The tanker’s owner dropped it off two weeks ago at a business in the 1800 block of Cadillac St. in Ypsilanti Township, said Washtenaw County sheriff’s Sgt. Geoff Fox. The business filled it up with used cooking oil for recycling.

At some point, the trailer went missing, likely in the last couple of days, Fox said. “We’re continuing to investigate,” he said. “We just haven’t been able to talk to enough people to say when they last saw it.”

The trailer is a 1988 Fruehauf 42 foot stainless steel tandem axle tanker trailer. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department confidential tip line at 734-973-7711 or 1-800-SPEAK UP.


Ann English

Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

The perfect day for these grease and oil puns; earlier today, I deduced that EVOO listed in a recipe's ingredients stands for "extra-virgin olive oil". Probably not proper terminology for a journalist or Food contributor to, but it fit the context it was in. First ingredient in the pan, then saute the next ingredients put into the pan. The cooking oil in this article I assume was vegetable oil, not a healthier kind like canola, olive, coconut, or peanut.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Actually, he trailer was moved to another location because of a local ordinance. The driver that was supposed to pick it up didn't ask anyone where it was.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

sounds pretty slick.


Wed, Jun 6, 2012 : 11:11 a.m.

@ Cindy it is Bio diesel they convert it to not fuel oil.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

I just don't think I want anymore chicken fingers or french fries. (I swear sometimes when I eat fries, they taste like fish). Yuck!

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.

Oh no!! you mean I won't be able to gorge myself on fat-and-calorie-laden harbingers of death and shorten my life expectancy by several years? Darn!!! BTW, Sarcasm is my second language.....


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

Maybe check the "Swingers" clubs for these slippery culprits? You are correct Ricebrnr, used fryer oil (strained) can be used as fuel in diesel vehicles. Conversion kit must be installed first. Kits cost $500 to $1000.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

Running straight used cooking oil in a modern diesel engine, no matter how well filtered the oil is, will typically kill it eventually. Usually very quickly. The ONLY way to do it successfully is with a kit that will allow the diesel engine to start on conventional diesel fuel, then switch to the vegetable/cooking oil once it is fully warm and the oil is pre-heated. Then switch back to straight diesel before shutting down. Do all that exactly correctly with zero error, and you might get a good long lifetime of use. Do it wrong just once or twice and your engine is on the fast track to imminent death. A better use for this stolen oil would be processing it into biodiesel, which can be run straight in any diesel engine sold prior to 2007.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

I do not believe that all diesels require a conversion kit to run used fryer oil. There are in fact many that will run it straight. As this one Mythbusters episode illustrates:

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Steal a trailer... drive it to a remote location while dreaming of all the money you're going to get by selling the trailer and its contents on Craig's List... use your bolt cutters on the lock.... open the doors... "DOH!!!"


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

"but it wasn't the oil you put in your car's engine or the kind that fuels furnaces" Cindy, perhaps you should look into one of the ways to recycle this oil, bio-diesel. It can indeed be put in diesel vehicle engines with very little extra processing...

Cindy Heflin

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Good point Ricebrnr. I've changed it to fuel oil.


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

I always knew it wouldn't be long before our love of fried foods turned us all into criminals. Our only solution now is to arm ourselves to protect our precious supplies of cooking grease from the marauding bands of grease-thieves roaming the wastelands of Washtenaw County. Wait, maybe that was just a scene from The Road Warrior...


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 2:16 p.m.

What kind of a greaseball would do this?

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

smokeblwr, you said it correctly when you used the word "greaseball".....


Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

The Hamburglar?

Madeleine Borthwick

Tue, Jun 5, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

Brad....the Hamburglar would never do something this "slippery".....chuckle...