Before you slap a square slice of bright yellow cheese on your burger at your next barbecue, consider the plight of a poor truck driver in the States, whose truck full of cheese was stolen on Friday.
The thieves managed to get away with nine tonnes of Homer Simpson’s favourite nighttime snack, which added up to about £35,000 worth of solidified milk.
“The cheese pirates are back at it again,” Vince Christian, from the Wisconsin Cheese Mart told NBC26, ominously. “It’s kind of crazy that cheese is now so valuable people are going off with entire trucks of it.”
Well, Vince, while you’re not wrong about the cheese pirates — great turn of phrase, by the way — you might be surprised to find out that cheese heists are more common than you think.
2016: Pueblo, Colorado
Someone managed to make off with between £3,000 and £5,000 worth of cheese from a local pizza parlour in April, a crime that led the shop’s owner to suddenly realise he was out of the precious dairy product. “Middle of the week I ran out cheese and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” Hoss Kashani said. The thief, however, was caught on camera:
However, weed is legal in Colorado, so this cheese theft makes absolute sense, if we’re being honest.
2016: Germantown, Wisconsin
An estimated £52,000 worth of cheese was stolen from a trailer in the early morning hours of Friday, January 22nd, undoubtedly the perfect time of day to pull off a ballsy cheese heist. The loot was later discovered in Milwaukee. After learning that the thief or thieves tried selling the loot for a low price, local cheese aficionado Tyson Wehrmeister had this to say: “We lost all this cheese for somebody who’s a complete imbecile.”
2016: Marshfield, Wisconsin
Roughly a week before Germantown’s cheese heist, Marshfield was rocked by its own theft. Around January 15th, roughly £67,000 worth of Parmesan cheese — about 18 tonnes pounds — went missing from a storage facility. It, too, was recovered, and “police said the cheese was being held in a safe place”.
2015: Goux-les-Usiers, France
Les voleurs de fromage made off with nearly 4.5 tonnes of Comté cheese in November — a tidy little war chest worth about £32,000. It doesn’t appear that the cheese was ever recovered; please pour one out for all that delicious, delicious dairy.
2015: Modena, Italy
This is the granddaddy of cheese heists. The big kahuna. The prized bull. Thieves in Italy managed to make off with £660,000 worth of Parmesan cheese. They didn’t do it all at once, but rather over the course of two years, but still. That’s a lot of fucking cheese. Alas, the world’s greatest criminal masterminds were caught that September.
2015: Lakeland, Florida
In March, a band of Florida Thieves — a subbranch of the Florida Man contingent — stole a tractor-trailer filled with $64,000 worth of shredded mozzarella cheese. Think of the pizza!
2015: Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia/Tennessee
Did you know that Fort Oglethorpe is located in both Georgia and Tennessee? Also, did you know that a couple once stole 57 blocks of cheese from a Wal-Mart there in February? One shopper wasn’t sure what to make of it. “What would be the purpose?” she said. “I wonder what they were making with it.”
Despite the recent rash of cheese heists, it may be comforting to know that things haven’t changed all that much. In 2012, the Guardian reported that cheese was the most shoplifted food in the world.
Of course, the US is currently in the midst of a cheese surplus, so perhaps the thefts are simply the market’s way of adjusting for supply and demand. Go get that cheddar!