The great grease caper in Rochester

It appears that alternative energy is sparking a crime wave in Minnesota.

The Rochester Post Bulletin says thieves are stealing grease, usually from deep-fat fryers at restaurants.

More than $1,500 worth of grease emptied from Rochester restaurants has been stolen over the past week, officials said today.

Midwest Grease, a business based in Redwood Falls, contracts with several area restaurants to buy the used grease disposed of after a day in the fryers. The oil is then sold to bio-diesel companies, which recycle it into diesel fuel, animal feed or jet fuel.

A police official says it’s the first time he’s heard of grease thievery in this area, but it’s been a big deal in the rest of the country.

In California, the Assembly is considering increasing fines for stealing grease.

A grease thief can get $3 a gallon for used grease on the, umm, black market.