Chrytian Hernandez, 21, of Donna, TX
VILLA RICA, Ga. -- A video surveillance tape of a theft of used cooking oil has led to the arrest of one man and the discovery of an illegal business.
Early on the morning of December 10, 2011, two men in an old moving van used a pump on a truck to siphon the oil out of 55 gallon drums behind the Big Chic restaurant in Villa Rica.
The truck had the word Pacific written on the side with the letter P and the last letter C missing. That distinguishing characteristic may have led to a traffic stop by a Hiram Police officer who saw the truck when the surveillance tape of the theft was aired on 11Alive News on Monday.
The truck was traced to an illegal business on Bonnie Lane in Dallas. Villa Rica Police found three trucks at the business. All of them were equipped with 5,000 gallon tanks, a pump and hoses to siphon the oil.
In a press release Thursday from Villa Rica Police Captain Keith Shaddix, police said they arrested Chrystian Hernandez of Donna, Texas. The 21-year-old was charged with Theft by Taking. They believe he was the driver of the truck in the surveillance tape. Police are still trying to identify the second suspect in the video.
The name of the business is Green Solutions. According to Capt. Shaddix, it was determined there was no business license for the company and several other violations were found. The Dallas Police Department is investigating those violations. Shaddix said Green Solutions was selling the oil to a company in New Jersey.
The owner of Big Chic said he was surprised that an arrest was made.
"It really makes me happy to find out who did it and to find out this quick," said Roger Fuller. "We could have never done it without you guys at Channel 11."
Fuller said he sells his used cooking oil to a recycler for $1.57 per gallon. The thieves stole more than 300 gallons from his business.
"I certainly hope this will help other people as much as it did me," he said.
Police said stealing cooking oil, which is used as bio-diesel fuel, is a costly crime in Georgia. They estimate between $15 million to $20 million dollars worth of bio-diesel fuel was stolen in the state last year.