Deli Worker Faces Criminal Charges for Allegedly Eating $9,200 Worth of Deli Meat

If she ate two ounces a day, five days a week, for eight years... that adds up to 260 pounds of ham.
Photo via Flickr user Marco Verch

Late country legend Johnny Cash’s last number-one song was “One Piece at a Time,” a 1976 novelty track about a Kentucky-born GM worker who quickly realized that he could never afford the Cadillacs he spent his days assembling. Instead, the song’s narrator spent more than 25 years stealing a car, piece by piece, clocking out with his lunchbox full of shocks and gears or carrying an entire fuel pump out the door. “I got it one piece at a time,” he sang in the chorus. “And it wouldn't cost me a dime.”


In a decidedly less romantic real-world crime, an Ohio grocery store employee is facing theft charges for allegedly stealing $9,200 worth of deli meat. But much like Cash’s auto worker, she didn’t steal all that ham at once: she did it three, four, or five pieces at at time. According to the Canton Repository, the unnamed woman had worked at the deli counter at the Giant Eagle in Bolivar for the past eight years.

During her time there, the woman reportedly helped herself to up to five slices of ham every day, occasionally switching it up with a few slices of salami. The store’s loss-prevention manager reported the theft after receiving a tip about the unauthorized ham-scarfing, and she admitted her crime to deputies from the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Department on Friday.

Someone at Giant Eagle apparently did the math on the woman’s daily snacks, determining that she’d downed more than $9,000 worth of deli meat. As one Facebook commenter pointed out, Giant Eagle must sell some fancy-ass ham: if she ate two ounces each day, five days a week, for eight years—and assuming that she didn’t take a day off from either work or eating ham—that adds up to 260 pounds of ham. If the store valued her theft at $9,200, then its deli ham is 35 bucks per pound, which is almost three times as much per pound as, say, the pasture-raised, free range, heritage Fossil Farms Bone-In Berkshire Ham from Dean & Deluca.

“While our office did take a report of the issue as requested by the store, no determination of charges has been made,” Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell wrote on Facebook. “The procedure is to send the report to the Prosecutor’s Office and they are the ones to decide.” Campbell clarified that the woman has not been arrested and, in his opinion, “felony charges are unlikely,” despite her thinly sliced larceny.

At least Johnny Cash’s piece-by-piece Cadillac thief got a car out of it. This woman barely got a snack.