Food crimes probably get filed under crimes of passion, we’ve all been hangry at one point or another but some crimes committed by people in the name of hunger really do take the biscuit.
Last year in Scotland one of the most bizarre crimes to take place ever was played out when a carefully planned robbery of £45,000 of Kellogg’s cereal bars took place in Johnstonebridge in Dumfriesshire. An articulated lorry which was branded Curries (lol) was used to steal 9 tonnes worth of product. I’m still unsure if these cereal offenders (geddit?) were ever caught but it wasn’t the first or last time a crime has been committed involving food.
Back in 2012 A shoplifter in Bristol might have gotten away with theft if that is, he hadn’t munched down on some stolen chilli peppers to avoid detection, after he swallowed a Scotch Bonnet pepper at the Singh convenience store in Bristol, he soon began coughing and vomiting. The pepper is extremely hot with 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units, which dwarfs most jalapeño peppers, which have 2,500 to 8,000.
The shopkeeper at Singh’s noticed the offender in pain and followed him out of the shop where upon he was arrested by police who recovered another four chilli peppers in his pocket, a stolen milkshake and fruit juice. A clarinet was also found tucked inside his waistband; it was missing from a local music shop. They also found a number of class A drugs. Banwell has pleaded guilty to stealing from three shops over three months, receiving stolen goods, violating his licence from a previous jail term, and possessing Class A drugs.
A prosecutor for the case said Banwell had been named in 43 theft-related offenses since 1989.
Poor McDonalds employees do get the brunt of a lot of these stories. In Indiana a customer went into a ‘violent rage’ when she became dissatisfied with how a McDonalds employee had stored her ice cream cake. The woman apparently threw the cake and slapped the employee. No arrests were made but there was a 911 call where the victim was asked if she was ok and she replied “Yes, just a bit sticky.”
Ok so not maybe strictly food related but too weird to not include; a man from Arkansas attempted to rob a gas station with a pair of rusty food tongs in his best terrifying voice he allegedly told the member of staff at the till “Give me all the money in the register! Or I’ll flip you like a hot dog!” Surprisingly, the employee wasn’t threatened. He just called the police. Then there was probably an awkward fifteen minutes where the robber lightly pinched the employees arm as he tried to stock soda. Then the man was arrested.
Although in May an Italian court ruled that stealing food to eat if you are hungry is no longer a crime, it’s not seen as such in NY state. In October 2010 a man dressed as the famous killer ‘Ghostface’ from the Scream movies tried to rob a Long Island Dunkin’ Donuts only to have the employees laugh at him and soak him with the dish washing hose. Do ghosts eat doughnut holes?
Cheese is one of the most stolen items ever. I had no idea about this until I was in a Tesco Local and noticed the cheese had actual security tags on it, It wasn’t even good cheddar. Due to the popularity of cheese thefts it’s of little surprise that cheese features in our list of weird food crimes. In Bend, Oregon two women walked into Wholefoods and asked them to box up a wheel and just walked straight out with $600 of cheese including a $300 wheel of quality Gouda. As far as I know the women were never caught but if I was the police I’d probably be having stake outs and all the major cracker producers in the county.
Obviously crime is no joke. No matter how funny or stupid the criminals are, and if it’s happening to you then it’s especially not funny. We’ve all dealt with food crime in one form or another; most frustrating is the office food thief. If this is happening to you and your delicious things are going missing from the work fridge then here are a few helpful suggestions to combat it.
1. Camouflage your food: There are some nifty little bags you can get online here that basically make your food look like a rather unappetising science experiment. No self-respecting thief would go after that.
2. Bite Back: Taking a bite of every item before storing it in the office fridge. Ewww. Gross.
3. Sabotage: Mix M&M’s with Skittles and wait for that sweet, sweet revenge or fill a carton of OJ with powdered cheese sauce and water.
4. The Power of Purple Rain Compels You!: Available on US Amazon Purple Rain is a seemingly innocent looking dark green powder that on instant contact with moisture becomes an evil purple staining beast. They will literally be caught erm..purple handed.
5. Don’t Fear the Reaper: Adding Carolina Reaper pepper (Capsicum Chinense, the current world record holder for the hottest chilli) to any food you have stored in the fridge will immediately give you the identity of the criminal lurking in your midst.
6. Just buy a lockable box: It might not get you your revenge you crave but it will stop you from being sued for poisoning someone with the hottest chilli in the world or covering the whole of your office space in indelible purple stains.