Suspect arrested in West Pittston cooking oil theft investigation

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The suspect is also accused of a similar theft in Exeter Borough

WEST PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A 20-year-old man has been arrested after police say he stole cooking oil from multiple businesses on the west side of the Wyoming Valley.

Police say Steven Caraballo Matos was caught on camera twice within minutes stealing the oil for what investigators are still trying to figure out.

Caraballo Matos was brought back to Luzerne County Monday to face felony charges after investigators say he was caught stealing cooking oil from the American Grill in Exeter and and B3Q Smokehouse on Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston last Wednesday morning.

“They’re utilizing vans to hide the containers inside and syphoning it from the tanks of the business to the tanks inside their vans,” said West Pittston Police Department Chief Michael Turner.

West Pittston Police released a video last week to Eyewitness News which allegedly shows Caraballo Matos stealing the oil and then ramming his van into the B3Q Smokehouse owner’s vehicle.

“So that just shows to what extent they’ll do to avoid apprehension,” said Chief Turner.

Caraballo Matos was arrested by local police at his home near Allentown. He was held in the Lehigh County Jail over the weekend.

“When the Salisbury Township Police Department made contact with him, his family was aware of the incident. So obviously, if they were aware, he was aware. He had an opportunity to contact us, he knew we were looking for him,” said Chief Turner.

Cooking oil is becoming more common in thefts. Restaurant owners recycle it to get paid by companies that refine it into fuel. It’s unclear to the public what thieves are doing with it.

“It goes a lot deeper than just a theft of cooking oil,” said Chief Turner.

He was arraigned by Magistrate Joseph Spagnuolo and bail was denied.

Investigators say, they do not know where the van is or the stolen cooking oil. Now, there was an accomplice in this case and that person has not been arrested at this time.

Caraballo Matos was charged by West Pittston police for burglary, criminal trespass, theft, receiving stolen property, simple assault, reckless endangering, criminal mischief and other traffic violations. He also received charges from Exeter police for theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief.

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