Making a living as a thief is a tough gig. Sure, it looks cool in the movies, but the reality is a little tougher. You have to make a plan, execute it perfectly, avoid the police, leave zero evidence behind, be prepared to go on the run, move/sell whatever you stea...it's a lot of risk and work. (Not that we know firsthand, to be clear.) Which is why it makes sense that most thieves go after something valuable enough to make the risk worth it, like money, jewelry, or other expensive items. But sometimes it means food. Don’t believe us? Just check out some of these high-value food heists for proof.
We’re not advocating (err, avocado-cating?) stealing, but if you’re trying to pull off a produce heist and get the most bang for your buck, avocados are definitely a smart move. So when we learned that three men at a produce processing plant were arrested for skimming $300,000 (holy guacamole) worth of ‘cados out of a warehouse and selling them on the side, it made sense. The avo-criminals were arrested in June in Oxnard, CA and held on a $250,000 bond. That’s the pits.
If you’re a food criminal and you’re not going to go for avocados, then nuts are definitely a valuable piece of produce to procure instead. In 2013, a group of thieves cut through a fence in California’s central valley and stole trailers filled with nuts. According to NPR, the theft was a result of the rising price of nuts, though they also suggested the thieves could have been part of a large criminal conspiracy they referred to as a “nut mafia.” Yes. For real. (As far as we can tell, the thieves were never apprehended.)
It feels extra mean to steal wine because it leaves the victims with no way to drown their sorrows as they deal with the fact that they’ve just been robbed. But that's what happened to the owners of French Laundry, Thomas Keller's esteemed California restaurant that was home to some of the world’s finest bottles of wine before a thief broke in and stole 76 of them. The robbers, who struck on Christmas Day, made off with an estimated $500,000 worth of wine. The good news is that although only one of the robbers was arrested, the police did manage to recover 72 of the 76 stolen vino bottles.
4. Maple Syrup
They say the mounties always get their man, and when it comes to the largest maple syrup theft in history, they certainly did. Three men were convicted in Quebec after stealing $18 million(!) worth of maple syrup from a processing warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford. The theft was discovered when, during a routine warehouse check, authorities found that barrels of syrup that had been drained and replaced with water. Lock 'em up and throw oot the key, eh?
5. Parmigiano Reggiano
Modena, Italy is home to the “undisputed king of cheese” which also, apparently, makes it a target for the many would-be food-jackers of the world. In what was surely considered a national insult, three Italian men were convicted in 2015 after it was discovered they had travelled from warehouse to warehouse stealing some 2,039 wheels of cheese (valued at around $875,000) over the course of two years. É orrible.
6. Chicken Wings
Take a walk back to January of 2013. It was almost time for the Super Bowl and the price of wings was rising steadily because of a shortage (fun fact: Americans consume 1.33 billion chicken wings over the course of the Super Bowl weekend). Just ahead of the big day, two men who worked at a frozen food distribution center in Atlanta made off with $65,000 worth of frozen chicken wings. The workers apparently brought a rental truck to the warehouse and loaded it up, thinking they could fly the coop and no one would notice. But their managers did. And now they’re in jail.
7. Girl Scout Cookies
Stealing Girl Scout cookies is horrible but brilliant for two reasons:
1) They’re delicious.
2) They’re only available part of the year, which means there’s probably a lot more demand than supply.
But that still doesn’t excuse the Kentucky troop leader who stole $26,000 worth of cookie boxes. The troop leader apparently picked up several thousands cases of cookies from a distribution center, but when the bill arrived, she was nowhere to be found. As a result, her troop is stuck with the bill (yikes) and is unable to take educational trips or attend events, sadly. If there’s a merit badge for being a s****y person, this troop leader deserves it.
8. Dog Food
Stealing from Girl Scouts is bad enough, but come on, WHO STEALS FROM A DOG? Police have been unable to answer that question since 36,000 pounds of Blue Buffalo dog food was stolen off a semi-trailer last January. You'd think police dogs would be able to sniff out the stash, but the thieves remain at large along with their $120,000 worth of kibble.
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