Legally reviewed by:
King Law
May 16, 2024

Did you know that it is illegal in North Carolina to steal or tamper with the kitchen grease of someone else? According to North Carolina General Statute § 14-79.2, disturbing the kitchen grease of another could even make you a felon. 

According to the statute, any person is not allowed to (1) take or help take any waste kitchen grease container or grease inside of it, which says it is not to be taken; (2) intentionally contaminate or damage the waste grease container or the grease inside of it; or (3) place a label claiming ownership of a waste kitchen grease container that they know is owned by someone else. 

“Waste kitchen grease” is defined as animal fat or vegetable oil that has been used, and will not be reused, for cooking in a food establishment. 

The type of crime a person stealing or damaging the waste kitchen grease will be charged with depends on the value of the grease taken. If the value of the waste kitchen grease container or grease inside of it is one thousand dollars or less, the person will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, the most serious kind of misdemeanor. This type of offense has a potential punishment of a fine and community service.

If the value of the waste kitchen grease container or grease inside of it is worth more than one thousand dollars, the person will be facing a Class H felony. Though Class H felonies are deemed “low-level felonies”, the maximum penalty is up to thirty-nine months of incarceration. 

As rare as grease theft may seem, it is a large problem for restaurants, communities, and the environment. Waste kitchen grease can be valuable as it is used in products such as renewable diesel fuel. Because the waste grease has the potential to be highly profitable, sometimes large organizations are responsible for stealing the waste kitchen grease of restaurants and may even use recruiting measures to lure people into committing the crime for their benefit. This recruiting scheme is dangerous and misleading as some do not realize the severity of this crime. 

The law went into effect ten years ago in 2013 in response to a rising problem with stolen waste kitchen grease. In 2019 twenty-one people were indicted for stealing waste kitchen grease to resell it. It is estimated that more than $75 million worth of grease gets stolen every year across the United States. 

Strange laws like this exist and impact your legal rights. If your restaurant has been the victim of waste kitchen grease theft or if someone has asked you to participate in this stealing, know it is a crime to do so in the state of North Carolina. Legal issues like the theft of valuable waste kitchen grease containers and the grease inside of them can be very complex. Contact King Law at 888-748-KING to schedule a consultation. We want to help you! 

Legally reviewed by:
King Law
Carolina Attorneys
May 16, 2024

This blog post has been reviewed and verified by legal experts at King Law. Our team is dedicated to providing premium legal services with compassion, innovation, trust, and advocacy. Serving Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, we offer flexible meeting options and strive to exceed client expectations with high-quality legal representation and exceptional client relationships.

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