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East Lyme police arrest 3 alleged grease thieves in one week

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East Lyme — Town police on Thursday arrested two alleged grease thieves, a pair of New York residents who police said were caught making off with used cooking oil from Daddy’s Noodle Bar at 295 Flanders Road.

Those arrests followed an earlier one this week connected with the same kind of crime.

Used oil can be sold and is used for things like biodiesel fuel and in a variety of other products. In a statement, East Lyme police Chief Michael Finkelstein said the thefts are an ongoing problem throughout the region and often causes damage to restaurant equipment.

The first arrest came Tuesday, when police noticed suspicious activity near Charlie's Place, 26 W. Main St., Niantic. When an officer approached, a man ran into the wooded area behind the building.

A police K-9 team from the Connecticut State Police responded and assisted East Lyme officers in finding the man, later identified as 35-year-old Jose Casanova of New Haven. Police said he was beginning the process of entering the building to steal grease.

Two more arrests came early Thursday morning, when police spotted suspicious activity outside 295 Flanders Road. A motor vehicle was stopped and police noticed what appeared to be an oily substance leaking from the vehicle. Police said an investigation revealed that the driver, William Urbina, 34, and passenger, Kevin Romero-Castro, 23, had just stolen oil/grease from the restaurant.

All involved face charges of trespassing and conspiracy to commit sixth-degree larceny. Romero-Castro additionally was charged on an outstanding warrant with second-degree failure to appear in court.

g.smith@theday.com 

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