A New York man who pleaded guilty to stealing used cooking oil from seven York-area restaurants was sentenced to time-served and released from York County Prison last week.
Carlos Perez, 24, of 88 Elliott Ave. in Yonkers, has a legitimate cooking oil recycling business in his hometown, according to defense attorney Ron Gross.
"He has a side business of getting contracts from companies that pay him to take their used cooking oil," Gross said. Perez then sells the oil to refineries in New York and New Jersey, which use the oil to make products such as cosmetics and soap.
"He came down here to try to increase his profit margin by taking the oil without permission, which has now had a negative affect on his profit margin," Gross said.
Perez drove down to York in his truck, which is fitted with large containers to hold used oil, the attorney said.
The thefts: In the early morning hours of Oct. 25, he drove to the rear of seven West Manchester Township restaurants, where the "traps" for used cooking oil are located, then used those traps to steal the oil, Gross said.
The restaurants were: Taco Bell, 2189 White St.; Shangrila Chinese restaurant, 2149 White St.; Hoss's Steak and Sea House, 2175 White St.; Lyndon Diner, 1353 Kenneth Road; Olive Garden, 1340 Kenneth Road; Wendy's, 1225 Carlisle Road; and Bob Evans, also at 1225 Carlisle Road.
Perez pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft and receiving stolen property, according to court records.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of making a false report, for giving police the name of his cousin, Darvin Santana, when he was pulled over during his oil-theft spree, according to Gross.
"He got scared," Gross said.
2 months in jail: Perez has no prior record, got married about a year ago and attends community college in New York, the attorney said.
On Dec. 17, he pleaded guilty to stealing from the seven restaurants; other charges were dismissed, court records state.
He was sentenced to time-served and released that night, Gross said, meaning he was in prison about two months.
Perez also was sentenced to four years of probation, including 50 hours of community service and some restitution, for damage done to the businesses, Gross said. His probation has been transferred to New York, the attorney said.
One of Perez's friends, David Massey, 24, also of Yonkers, accompanied Perez on the theft spree, police allege.
His criminal cases remain active, and his formal court arraignment is set for Jan. 25, court records state.
- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.