Top 10 Strangest Stolen Items
As security features on higher ticketed items get stronger and harder to break, organized crime rings are getting much more creative with what items they are stealing for profit. We have compiled a top 10 list of the strangest high risk retail items on the theft circuit in the U.S.
1. Tide: Tide is the nation’s most popular and recognizable detergent selling at an average of $20 per 150 oz. bottle, which is at a much higher cost than most detergents. It is also a staple in most homes across the socioeconomic spectrum making it an ideal currency for drugs. Boosters, or the Tide thieves, are selling the product for $8 to $10 or the drug equivalent a bottle, which then goes for close to $12 to $15 each to smaller stores.
2. Price Guns: Recently occurring in stores across Virginia, price guns are being stolen from behind the counters to be resold on the internet. Price guns are used to take inventory and make price tags or labels for items sold within the store. The average cost of a price gun is more than $1,500 brand new, with used guns still selling for more than $800 on eBay.
3. Baby Formula: Baby formula has been lifted off the shelves since it was invented. It is an item that will always be in demand, is typically untracked, and can be turned around for quick cash. The resale value is also very high. Selling for between $15 and $30 in stores, formula is being resold for pennies on the dollar, and then sold again in smaller mom and pop stores for even more than bigger retailers will sell it for.
4. Cheese: With the price of cheese rising, so is the number of thefts. A big story in the last year was the Illinois man who stole 21 tons of Muenster cheese off of a truck traveling from Wisconsin. Another recent story was about two women in Oregon who stole over $600 worth of Gouda and Blue cheese wheels. The cheese is being stolen for resale and the thieves are making a pretty penny. Cheese is the most stolen food in the world, with 4% of the cheese in more than 250,000 retail outlets in 43 stores going missing.
5. Hair: $80,000 worth of hair extensions were stolen from a Chicago hair salon. $150,000 worth of human hair was stolen from a salon in Houston and $60,000 from a beauty shop in California. Real human hair extensions are going for big bucks on the streets. Priced between $50- $200 in stores, real human hair extensions can go for double that on the internet. When stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth and reselling to stylists who work out of their homes, flea markets, or internet based stores like Ebay, the profits are unreal.
6. Metal Wire (Copper): Copper is getting heisted from homes, cars, streetlight poles and appliances. Copper wiring, pipes and copper-friendly appliances like air conditioning units are being stolen from homes across the country. Metal rich catalytic converters in cars or aluminum streetlight poles are being cut down and sold as well. But why? Copper is currently the most in demand metal in the US. The cost of copper has risen from $3.5/lb. to $4.5/lb in the last year. In the past year alone, there was more than $1 billion worth of damage done to homes, cars and other copper laden places across the nation.
7. Razor Blades: Gillette and other name brand razors are feeling the hit of thieves across the country. Because of the high demand and popularity, razor blades are easily resold at a lower rate outside of stores. Razor cartridges are also expensive and easy to conceal. Because of how easy razors are to steal, people can just simply place them in their pockets. One man was able to steal over $100 worth of razors just in his pocket. With crime rings focusing on razors, it's easy to return a good profit just by filling your pockets.
8. Batteries: Car batteries are being stolen left and right. In Nebraska, one man had six batteries stolen out of his tractors at a cost of $750. Recently in New York, two men were using the bus depot they worked at as their own auto parts store. They stole 16 bus batteries at a cost of $140 each to sell for scrap. Vehicle batteries are the only item that will result in cash when sold for scrap. When selling copper or other metals, the seller receives a check that they must go cash, providing a paper trail. Most thieves do not want a paper trail, so stealing vehicle batteries is the best way of achieving that.
9. Electric Toothbrushes: Thieves are finally catching on that dental hygiene is a lucrative business. Electric toothbrushes and whitening kits go for upwards of $55 dollars a pop, making them one of the more expensive items on the shelf. Police found that more than $3.2 million worth of electric toothbrushes were sold on eBay over the last year. Through a crime ring in Florida, tens of thousands of dollars worth were sold through a single man’s pawn shop. Pennsylvania saw more than $16,000 worth stolen for resale from a local Kohl’s.
10. Coffee: You’ve been to Starbucks, you’ve seen that coffee can get off the charts expensive depending on the blend you choose. Specialty coffees shipped from Hawaii or imported from out of country get even more expensive. International thieves are taking advantage of this phenomenon and are starting to steal coffee beans and parchments by the barrel. In Hawaii, over 2,300 lbs. of parchment coffee was taken over the course of two weeks for a combined total of $21,700. Even more thefts are taking place in countries like Kenya and Ethiopia because the US demand for their coffee beans drives up value, making them more appealing to thieves.