Two weeks ago, a truck pulled into the Nicholas Meatpacking plant near near Loganton, Pennsylvania for its scheduled pick-up of 20 tons of ground beef.
That's roughly $110,000 worth of burger meat, all of which was destined for another plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and none of which actually arrived. Eventually, Nicholas Meat realized that they had been had, and that they are unlikely to ever recover the 40,000 pounds of meat.
It's not exactly clear at this point who is behind the theft, or why somebody would want that much ground meat in the first place, but police discovered that the driver used a fake ID to pick up the delivery, and that the company information on the tractor trailer was "fraudulent," according to a report by the Associated Press.
In case you are wondering, 40,000 pounds of meat is enough to make 160,000 cheeseburgers, according to quarter-pounder-based burger estimates made by Nicholas Meat.
And while 20 tons of ground beef is an impressive loot, the numbers can get even more absurd in the dark world of food heists. Like 2,039 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, half a million honey bees, 10,000 oysters, or the great maple syrup heist of 2012, during which over $30 million worth of liquid gold was stolen from the world's Global Strategic Reserve of maple syrup in Quebec. Most of the syrup ended up in the US and eventually 26 people were arrested in connection to the heist, but the estimated $18 million in profits was never recovered.
All of which does not bode well for the Pennsylvania meatpacker. While it's pretty hard to lose track of an 18-wheeler, the majority of food heists are carefully planned and remain unsolved. This also begs the larger question of how one unloads that much meat in such a short amount of time, given the perishability of red meat.
According to local police, the investigation is ongoing, and as with most food heists, we are ultimately left with more questions than answers.
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