STATEWIDE, NC (WECT) – The start of a new year brings new state laws in North Carolina - one of those bringing stricter punishments for those who steal cooking grease.
For most people this grease may be useless after the food is done frying, but it's a hot commodity crooks often try to steal. People in the restaurant business say the new law is needed and long overdue.
Mickey Chance, the general manager of Golden Corral, said having grease stolen became such an issue his restaurant made changes a couple of years ago in how they store it.
"Quite often, it would happen late at night so you wouldn't see it," explained Mickey Chance, the general manager of Golden Corral. "You'll see it on the ground or half empty. They'd pull up there use it for their diesel fuel or whatever they doing."
A new state law went into effect Jan. 1 making it a felony for anyone who steals more than $1,000 worth of cooking grease. Stealing less than that amount is considered a misdemeanor.
Chance believes the new law will help restaurant owners who decide to sell their grease save money.
"Every penny helps. It's like these black eyed peas and greens I'm cooking today," explained Chance. "You're going to get dollars for the greens and pennies for the peas. Every little bit helps. This business is tough."
Some other laws also went into effect Tuesday, including tougher background checks for day care centers and charges like identity theft and bribery will now show up in criminal background checks.
To see a list of the new laws effective Jan. 1, click here.