Wisconsin is the nation's indisputable capital of cheese, making nearly 3 billion pounds of the stuff last year and accounting for more than 25 percent of the nation's total cheese production. Perhaps unsurprisingly, criminals just can't resist taking a bite out of such a lucrative market: Dairy-loving thieves in Germantown, Wisc. nabbed a refrigerated tractor-trailer loaded down with $70,000 worth of cheese on Friday, the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported.
The heist took place at D&G Transportation, a Germantown-based trucking company that handles nationwide freight for the food industry. And this was no crime of opportunity; according to a representative for D&G, it was a "well thought-out, carefully planned" heist by two criminals who knew exactly what they were looking for. The perpetrators stole a truck cab from another company and parked it across the street from D&G's lot; once they located the trailer full of cheese and confirmed its contents, they pulled the cab around, hooked up the trailer, and drove away.
If you were thinking this was a rare or expensive cheese bound for the connoisseur-driven black market, think again: The thieves then unloaded the "processed cheese product" at a grocery store in a "not-so-nice part of town," where it promptly made its way to the deli case. They they abandoned the empty trailer in a nearby industrial park, where it was soon discovered. Rather than waiting around for Germantown police to track down the missing product, by which point it would almost certainly have been gone for good, D&G took matters into its own hands: Employees analyzed data obtained from the trailer's GPS unit to retrace the thieves' journey, and were able to recover nearly all of the cheese — 24 pallets worth, to be exact — from the store where it had been unloaded, a result that the company rep confirms is "extremely unusual" for thefts.
No arrests have been made, but the thieves were caught on surveillance video, and D&G is hoping they can be located and held accountable for their cheese crime.
This caper was almost as impressive as last year's theft in which $85,000 worth of mozzarella bound for a Hungry Howie's distribution center was snatched from a parking lot in Ohio. Last November, thieves with more sophisticated taste struck a dairy in eastern France: They made off with four tons of pricey Comté, valued at over $40,000.