Not many would think to lock up their pregnancy tests or inflatable gorilla’s. Nowadays, no retailer or person is safe when it comes to the ever growing five-finger discount club. According to ABC News a “whopping 96%” of companies stated that they have been the prey of thieves. And based on a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, it costs retailers close to $30 billion a year.
Criminals will stop at nothing to get their greedy hands on what they have their target set on. Wonder how they get away with it? You might be taken back to learn how organized shoplifting and theft has become. Thieves rely on cell phones, hand signals, GPS devices, and even have tools of the trade, which include large foil-lined bags and purses that help prevent the signals from going off at the stores. And what happens to all the items that are snatched? Thieves sell them on the street, at pawn shops and flea markets, and online.
Below are ten of the most bizarre stolen items.
This chocolaty goodness is a popular one according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Nutella is relatively expensive and in high demand, which results in it making its way onto the list of most bizarre items shoplifted. Stolen Nutella has been reported all over the nation. For example, in Germany, a reported 11,000 pounds (about $20,000) of Nutella was stolen from a parked truck. MSN Money states that the main reason Nutella is stolen is because it’s both tasty and costly, averaging about $6 per container. Guess that’s enough reason for thieves to get their sticky-fingers on it.
9. KitchenAid Mixers
Wondering how someone can shoplift a KitchenAid mixer? It’s heavy and not like you can easily shove it in your pocket or under your jacket. Well, apparently it’s easier than you think. The way thieves get away with it is they have multiple in-store checkouts, and the item is so large, no employee is going to think that you are stealing it. Kind of a risky and ballsy move on the shoplifters part for sure.
8. A Live Shark
A couple who ran an aquatics shop from their home in Hampshire made a shocking discovery when they realized a 2-foot long female marble brown shark was missing. The shark, which was kept in an aquarium in a brick shed in a garden, originally comes from Indonesia, and is one half of the only breeding pair in the UK. They realized the shark had been stolen when they found the door open and all the lights on. The couple had recently bred six baby sharks, and fears that customers who came to see the babies could have been enticed to come back and steal the mother shark. According to the couple, the thieves would have needed a ladder to get up to the tank.
7. Pregnancy Tests
Pregnancy tests are among the most targeted by thieves. The main reason pregnancy tests are widely targeted is for their resale value. However, many younger thieves are snatching them to avoid embarrassment. Pregnancy tests can be resold on the black market or online for close to retail prices. A couple in Texas were accused of stealing 11 pregnancy tests! If you look at the numbers it’s true what they say- condoms are cheaper and cause less drama than pregnancy tests.
6. Laundry Detergent
Apparently laundry detergent has quite the value among thieves! In an interview with ABC News, theft of Tide detergent is on the rise in Minnesota. In fact, one man stole over $25,000 worth of Tide. Detergent is popular among thieves because they use it as trade, and it’s sold on the streets for half the price of what you’ll find in the store. In fact experts are calling it “liquid gold.” Law enforcement officials are stating that detergent is difficult to trace, as there are no tracking numbers, and it’s easily re-sold. Nowadays it’s common for drug dealers to trade detergent, most often Tide, for drugs and then re-sell it, which brings in more money for the bad guys. According to the UK Daily Mail- a 150-ounce bottle of Tide goes for either $5 in cash or $10 worth of drugs on the street. Who would have thought that big, bright orange container would of been so popular.
5. Electronic Toothbrushes
Dental hygiene’s apparently a very lucrative business. High-end dental products such as electronic toothbrushes are finding their way into numerous pockets of shoplifters. An alleged ring of shoplifters in Florida were recently uncovered and the statistics are outrageous! During an interview with ABC’s West Palm Beach affiliate WPBF a detective stated there were “over 100 transactions over a couple of months with a pawner… we’ve identified (about) $3.2 million was sold on eBay.” Phillips Sonicare electric toothbrushes (about $119.99 a box), Crest White Strips (about $55.99 a box), and toothbrush replacement parts are a few examples of the favorites targeted by shoplifters.
4. Manhole Covers
The base metal price has risen over the past few years, and manhole covers are a favorite for some quick cash. According to Time magazine, in some countries, such as Colombia, stealing manhole covers is so common, thieves have customized vehicles with holes in the floor so they can steal the covers easily. In New York there was a rash of manhole cover thefts, where nearly 30 of them disappeared. These covers sometimes weigh more than 300 pounds, but that doesn’t stop the bad guys from muscling up the strength to steal them.
3. Beach Sand
An enormous amount of sand has gone missing from a beach on the northern coast of Jamaica. Police are searching for a group of thieves after hundreds of truckloads of sand went missing from Coral Spring Beach. Apparently sand is in high demand among hotel resorts on the island. So far there have been no arrests, and as a result, Prime Minister Bruce Golding is ordering forensic tests on the beaches to test it against the sand that was stolen.
2. A 350-pound Inflatable Gorilla
A Kia dealership in Simi Valley, California has fallen prey to a large theft, one that is 350-pounds at that. An inflatable gorilla, known as “Mr. Pickles,” was reported stolen from the roof of the Kia dealership, and curiosity has risen to a new level. The dealership manager said he had no idea why anyone would target the gorilla, or how they managed the logistics of stealing it. “It’s not just something you can just go up on the roof and steal it,” the manager stated. “It would take at least a few people to carry it.” Police are referring to the incident as grand theft because “Mr. Pickles” is valued at $4,000.
1. A 10-ton Steel Bridge
Near the eastern town of Slavkov in the Czech Republic, a bridge burglary occurred, causing a million-dollar gap in the areas railroad budget. Apparently a “train gang” made their way to the Slavkov depot with fraudulent paperwork advising that they had been hired to demolish the bridge. Rather than demolishing the bridge, they took apart the bridge along with 650 feet of track. The “train gang” proceeded to sell the pieces as scrap metal and walk off with the profits.