21-Ton Cheese Theft Ranks Among Biggest Recent Food Heists

By An Phung
|  Thursday, Mar 28, 2013  |  Updated 3:42 PM CDT
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21-Ton Cheese Theft Ranks Among Biggest Recent Food Heists

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Whiskey, honey bees, muenster cheese and maple syrup top the list of the biggest food-related heists. Thieves took 500,000 bees from a local beekeeper in Canada.

Nuts, honey, cheese. No, these are not the ingredients for your perfect cheese board. It's a list of edible items pilfered in a string of recent giant heists.

An Illinois man accused of stealing 21 tons (42,000 pounds) of cheese was arrested Tuesday afternoon. The stolen Muenster from Wisconsin was worth $200,000, according to NBC Chicago.

Other heists have left the robbers laughing all the way to the bank with their pricey - and delicious - loot. Here's a look at several:

  • Whisky-A-No-Mo - A live-in caretaker at a mansion in Pittsburgh is facing criminal charges for allegedly drinking more than $100,000-worth of whiskey that belonged to the owner of the house. The suspect John Saunders, 62, said the alcohol "evaporated." Owner Patricia Hill discovered the whiskey in the walls of the historic mansion after she purchased the place in 2012. She suspects the alcohol was purchased pre-Prohibition by coal industrialist J.P Brennan. "I was told by his family that family members used to greet him at the door each day with a shot of whiskey," Hill told NBC Philadelphia.
  • Honey Heist - A local beekeeper in Abbotsford, B.C., fell victim in July when thieves took more than 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds) of honey and some expensive equipment.  Police suspect the theft was committed by someone familiar with the industry, as the thieves also took 500,000 bees and 100 hive frames which placed the value of the stolen goods at $100,000. “I would be more inclined to suggest that they’re not looking to, pardon the pun, liquidate the honey immediately,” city official Ian MacDonald told the Globe and Mail.
  • Maple Syrup Mystery - Three people were arrested in December in connection with a theft of 10 million pounds (5,000 tons) of maple syrup from a warehouse in Quebec. The theft was discovered last summer during a standard inventory check. Police said the theives stole the syrup over the course of a year and hid the theft by replacing the missing syrup with water, The New York Times reported. The value of the stolen syrup was valued at $30 million, officials said. Two thirds of the syrup have since been recovered, police said.
  • Going Nuts - Eighty-thousand pounds of walnuts mysteriously disappeared last October somewhere on their way to Miami. A few days later another 40,000 pounds of walnuts vanished on their way to Texas, according to NBC DFW. Officials said the incidents were connected by a suspicious delivery driver who turned out to be an imposter posing as an employee for a trucking company.

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