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The Sticky-Finger Discount

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In the last year, food thieves have swiped everything from Muenster cheese to cleanse juices, and a wave of California walnut heists has local farmers living in fear of the “Nut Mafia.” The reason, researchers say, may be that, in a down economy, filched food gets more than twice what electronics do on the black market. Here, a dossier on the craziest edible thefts, from nuts to Nutella.

140,000 Pounds of Walnuts
Value: $400,000
When: November 2013
Where: An orchard in Escalon, California
Status: Whereabouts unknown

195 Bottles of Twenty-Year Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, Plus 27 Bottles of Thirteen-Year Rye
Value: $27,213
When: October 2013
Where: The Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky
Status: Still missing, though police have a lead

3,000 Cartons of Hamburger Patties
Value: $100,000
When: April 2013
Where: A shipping company in Linden, New Jersey
Status: Whereabouts unknown

42,000 Pounds of Muenster Cheese
Value: $200,000
When: March 2013
Where: K&K Cheese in Cashton, Wisconsin
Status: Recovered at a New Jersey ­Turnpike rest stop; donated to charity

6,400 Cans of Heinz Baked Beans and Sausages
Value: $10,000
When: October 2013
Where: A delivery truck on an English roadside, as the driver slept
Status: Whereabouts unknown

11,000 Pounds of Nutella
Value: $20,710
When: April 2013
Where: An eighteen-wheeler parked in an unused German train station
Status: Whereabouts unknown

15,303 Bottles of Blueprint Cleanse Juice
Value: $153,000
When: May 2013
Where: BluePrint’s Long Island City warehouse
Status: Found and destroyed (not yet unpressurized, the bottles had a five-day life)

Truck Full of Campbell’s Soup
Value: $75,000
When: April 2013
Where: A truck stop in central Florida
Status: Recovered hours later

26,000 Pounds of Tyson Frozen Chicken Wings
Value: $65,000
When: January 2013
Where: A cold-storage center near Atlanta
Status: The thieves were caught, but the wings weren’t

6,000,000 Pounds of Maple Syrup
Value: $18,000,000
When: August 2011 to July 2012
Where: The Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve near Quebec City
Status: “Important” amount recovered; thieves off-loaded the rest in rural Canada and New England


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