March 20, 2012

Two Miami men arrested for oil theft

Key Largo – Two Miami men were arrested and their semi-truck was seized after they were caught stealing used oil from Upper Keys restaurants.

Detective Sgt. David Carey received information at 5 a.m. today a white 2008 Peterbilt semi-truck was seen in the vicinity of the Fish House, D Hookers and McDonalds in Tavernier. In all three locations, after the truck was seen in the vicinity there was evidence of theft or attempted theft from used oil/grease containers there. The truck was reported to be headed northbound from Tavernier.

The information came from two investigators working for a company called Tallowmasters. The company, which collects used oil / grease from restaurants in the Keys has been the victim of recent thefts from their upper Keys restaurant accounts. The investigators were doing surveillance in an effort to catch those stealing from the company. They followed the truck and saw the two men as they stopped at all the locations and stole oil or tried to steal oil. They then continued following them and notified the Sheriff’s Office of what they had observed.

Detective Yunier Galvez stopped the truck at the 102 mile marker of the highway. The two men inside were 35 year old Pedro Gonzalez and 43 year old Eduardo Vega who work for a rival company, Avila Environmental in Miami. On the front seat of the truck was a battery powered drill; a drill had been used in an attempt to breach oil containers at the restaurants in question.

Detective Galvez asked the driver, Gonzalez, what he was doing in the Keys. Gonzalez said he was picking up used oil / grease from his company’s accounts. He had a list of the stops he was supposed to make; The Fish House, D Hookers and McDonalds were not on the list. He was confronted with the fact that he was seen at those three locations that were not on his list. He finally admitted to taking oil or attempting to take oil out of the containers at those restaurants by drilling into them. Both he and Vega said oil had been stolen from their accounts and they were taking oil from other containers to make up for it.

Vega also admitted to taking oil from locations not on their route on other occasions as well.

Both men were arrested. They were charged with two counts of criminal mischief, burglary, two counts each of grand theft and possession of burglary tools. They were booked into jail. More charges are pending in the previous cases of oil/grease theft.

The truck they used in their crimes was seized for possible forfeiture.

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