The oddest and most expensive orchestrated food thefts from around the world
Can we talk about people who love cheese? Sure, there are the folk who like a nice smear of smooth brie on a cheese cracker. But then there are the people who orchestrate a series of strategic heists across Italy, robbing 2,039 wheels of parmesan worth about £600,000.
It's probably safe to assume that these thieves don't have an issue with lactose.
While it's not quite up there with The Italian Job or Ocean's Eleven (although we'd definitely watch the Hollywood version of Cheezus! Where's My Parmesan Gone?), a cheese-thief collective struck fear across the Parmigiano-Reggiano arena by looting the highly prized speciality from factories and warehouses over the course of two years.
When the police finally cracked the gang's robbing spree last month and arrested 11 people, they found that these guys had been using seriously professional equipment for their smash-and-grabs: electronics to crack alarm systems, radios and weapons. Yikes.
Although cheese is said to be the most commonly stolen food in the world, there are other equally coveted foods that have been thefted. Whether it's a sign of an on-going economic crises or just chancers with a taste for fancy munchies, food heists are sadly becoming a common occurrence these days.
Here are some of the oddest products people have gone on the rob for …
1. The Nutella Job
OK, this choco-hazelnut spread is all kinds of delicious, but that's no reason to go stealing five tonnes of the stuff. Apparently, in April 2011 in the small German town of Bad Hersfeld, thieves made off with more than £13,000 worth of the sweet treat, leading people to believe there was some sort of black market for Nutella. Or a chocolate-brown market?
2. Caffeine-noir Dogs
Also in the same town of the demise of the 6,000 jars of Nutella is someone with an apparent narcolepsy problem. A truckload of cans of Red Bull disappeared there in 2012, and in 2013 there was a coffee raid of £25,000 worth of the stuff. Whoever the thieves are, they're probably still buzzing now.
3. The Maple Syrup Affair
Or, the case of when 2.7 million kilos of maple syrup came to a sticky end. Quebec police were foxed in 2012 when thieves syphoned off £11m pounds of the pancake topper from barrels left in a warehouse rented by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. Because of the location, they figured it out that it may have been an inside job.
The thieves even pulled that classic teenager-sneaking-booze-from-their-parents-rum-bottle move and topped up the syrup barrels with water in some cases. Guys, you've let the maple syrup community down, you've let us down, but most of all, you've let yourselves down.
4. Ocean's Caviar
New Year's Eve for a Russian businessman was a total bust back in 2005, when robbers made off with 22 tonnes of caviar from a lorry he had parked in Moscow. He didn't discover his £300,000 loss until 2 January, so at least the year started off well for the one day.
5. A Chicken Called Wanda
Those Americans really love their chicken wings, don't they? And two greedy men from Atlanta robbed £42,000 worth of chicken bits just days before the 2013 Super Bowl. Didn't they think of all the hungry sports fans forced to gorge on carrot sticks instead?
Well, it's probably the least aspirational theft of this list, but 6,400 cans of Heinz Baked Beans With Sausages were "liberated" from a truck while it was parked in a layby in Worcestershire in 2013. The burglars cut a hole into the vehicle and were sorted for a fry-up in a can every day for the next 17 years.
7. The Usual Walnuts
Yep, 36,000 kilos of the nut went walkies in 2012 in California, when a delivery of walnuts never made it to their destination, leading police to believe it may have been the work of a rogue driver. A week later, £35,000 worth of walnuts were stolen from a neighbouring farm in the area. Nut another one!
8. Inside Soup
Is this the work of Andy Warhol's ghost? Because £48,000 worth of Campbell's Soup was pilfered from a Florida truck stop in 2013, when a robber jacked the truck and made off with a load of the tinned broth. He was caught in the end, and was probably laughed at quite a bit for his crime as he settled into his new home, prison.
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