By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Lawmakers are trying to turn up the heat on crooks targeting restaurants for what is now a hot commodity: Used kitchen grease.

It’s going for good money, and is even traded after its processed.

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Bill Taylor at the Iron restaurant in Sacramento has surveillance video showing thieves stealing his used kitchen grease.

“These guys are dressed like guys who handle grease all the time,” he said.

Two men at night back a truck up and pull out a vacuum hose, sucking up the used oil and they’re gone within two minutes.

But that’s not without first backing into and breaking Taylor’s fence.

Stealing grease is like stealing money from Taylor and other restaurant owners, as well as the companies that pay to safely remove the grease and recycle it.

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The biofuel industry is booming and the grease is traded as a commodity. Thieves are trying to cash in.

“You do have some people that are just flat out dishonest and will buy this stuff on the proverbial black market,” said Michael Koewler with the Sacramento Rendering Company.

Now California lawmakers are working to strengthen penalties against grease thieves and make it easier for cops to catch them.

“We want to make sure that we’re paying attention to how the grease is being retrieved, the people who are retrieving it, are authorized and properly trained to do so,” said Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena).

The owner of iron says he’s probably lost thousands of dollars to grease thieves—a loss he’s hoping a new law can help prevent.

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