WESTPORT — A 42-year-old New York man and 28-year-old Pennsylvania man were charged after allegedly stealing used cooking oil.

On Sept. 5 at 6:50 a.m., a member of the detective bureau observed a van exiting the shopping plaza at 1460 Post Road E. at a high rate of speed. While exiting the private parking lot, police said the operator failed to yield the right of way to the detective’s vehicle.

A traffic stop was made and the two occupants were identified as Anel Garcia, of Shillington, Pa., and Nelson Gonzalez-Perez, of Yonkers, N.Y.

The plaza the vehicle was exiting contained multiple restaurants and, based on past incidents, the detective believed the van may have been associated with the theft of used cooking oil commonly stored in the rear of restaurant properties, police said.

A pump used for removing cooking oil was allegedly observed in the rear of the van. However, both occupants were released at the scene as there was uncertainty to whether or not they had permission to remove the oil.

It was later discovered the oil had beeen taken without authorization, according to police. The victim wished to press criminal charges for the incident, police said, and the total loss due to the theft was $167.90.

It was also learned Garcia and Gonzalez-Perez had been involved in similar incidents in the past, police said.

An arrest warrant was then prepared and granted for both.

On Sept. 23, Westport Police Department was contacted by the Guilford Police Department reporting they had the two in custody for the warrant. The two were then transported to Westport police headquarters were they were charged with sixth-degree larceny.

Garcia posted $500 bond while Gonzalez-Perez posted $1,000 bond, and both are scheduled to be arraigned at state Superior Court in Norwalk on Oct. 2.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com