LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Steven Caraballo Matos, 20, of Allentown, wouldn't say anything to reporters as he was taken to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
He was brought back to West Pittston from his home in Salisbury Township in Lehigh County after police say he was the driver seen in surveillance footage stealing cooking oil from B3Q Smokehouse in West Pittston.
Court papers say before that Matos also stole cooking oil from The American Grill in Exeter.
"It looked like he committed that theft prior to committing the theft at B3Q," said West Pittston Police Chief Michael Turner.
Turner tells Newswatch 16 that surveillance video from places like B3Q Smokehouse and tips from people online helped lead to this arrest.
"It gives us locations where these people are at because it led us to more surveillance of the suspects," explained Chief Turner.
The chief says this arrest is part of a larger investigation on cooking oil thefts in the area. He says the thieves steal the oil and then sell it to others who make bio-diesel.
"A lot of the restaurants, not just here in West Pittston, are experiencing it, but the surrounding area, actually a big part of across the state, actually. So this investigation is ongoing. We're working with several other agencies," added the chief.
Police couldn't comment any further on the alleged operation but said the slew of charges Matos is facing besides theft and trespassing, like assault and endangerment charges, point to something much bigger.
"Those circumstances were a little different because, you know, just because of the nature of the offense. I mean, he attempted to injure the owner of the business by ramming the vehicle, so that just shows to what extent they'll do to avoid apprehension," said Turner.
Matos was sent to Luzerne County Correctional Facility without bail and is due back in court later this month.
Police say they are still looking for the passenger in the van seen in the video and the van used in the theft.