Semi-Truck With 44,000 Pounds of Miller Beer Stolen and Other Food Heists

Hold onto your booze and chocolate: No food delivery is safe.

ByABC News
October 22, 2014, 3:21 PM
Van Thomas had his semi, containing 44,000 pounds of Miller High Life, stolen in Orlando, Fla.
Van Thomas had his semi, containing 44,000 pounds of Miller High Life, stolen in Orlando, Fla.

— -- intro: Bulk foodstuffs never seem to be too large for a thief to cart away, whether it's a 14,000 pounds of walnuts or a semi-truck full of beer.

We've gathered some of the largest food and liquor thefts here.

quicklist:title: 44,000 Pounds of Beercategory: Weird Large-Scale Food Heistsmedia: 26377784text: A driver recounted with tears his story about how his semi loaded with 44,000 pounds of Miller High Life beer was stolen from a truck stop. Van Thomas, of West Orange, new Jersey, was driving from Texas to Pompano Beach, Florida. He was on his last stop before a delivery in Orlando when his entire truck and cargo were stolen, ABC affiliate WFTV reported.

"I don't mean to cry about it but I'm just trying to do the best I can and make a better life," Thomas told WFTV.

But Thomas received good news Tuesday from detectives informing him that the truck and the cargo was found in Miami.

"I'm just so happy right now," Thomas told ABC News the day after the truck was discovered.

Thomas said MillerCoors will decide what to do with the cargo, which hasn't been delivered, because it may have been compromised.

"I’m glad to say I have never lost a load," Thomas said. He had just started a company about a month ago, MT World Express -- named after his father Melvin Thomas -- after driving trucks for 10 years.

quicklist:title: 180,000 Eggscategory: Weird Large-Scale Food Heistsmedia: 23176653text:

If the Easter Bunny took emergency calls, surely the Lee County Sheriff's Office in Florida could use some help. Police were on the hunt for 180,000 eggs stolen from a semi-truck from Fort Myers, Florida, in March 2014.

The driver of a blue refrigerated semi-truck parked the vehicle behind a 7-Eleven convenience store on a Sunday morning that had around 180,000 eggs. Around 11:30 p.m., he returned to the find the truck and its contents gone, according to the police report. When police reported to the scene early Monday morning, they confirmed the vehicle had not been towed. There were no cameras that could see the vehicle parked or leaving the scene, the police report states.

The investigation is still active as of Oct. 22, 2014, according to Sgt. Scott Lineberger, public information officer for the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

quicklist:title: $648,000 Worth of Winecategory: Weird Large-Scale Food Heistsmedia: 21209186text: Seattle Police have recovered the $648,000 or so worth of wine stolen from Esquin Wine & Spirits storage facility Thanksgiving Day 2013. Police said it appeared that the more than 2,500 bottles of stolen wine were kept in a "temperature-controlled environment" less than a mile away from the scene of the crime, the Seattle Times reported.

Esquin tried to contact its hundreds of customers who rented temperature-controlled storage units in its facility to inform them of the holiday heist. But after police served a search warrant on a nearby building, they recovered the wine Dec. 11.

Police say the two alleged thieves tried to spray-paint over surveillance cameras at Esquin but failed to completely paint over at least one, according to the Seattle Times. Charges against them include second-degree burglary and second-degree theft, police said.

"Detectives need to photograph and document each bottle, enter it into evidence, and then we need to find the owner of each bottle," Seattle Police Investigations Lt. Greg Schmidt said in a statement on the police station's website.

Many of the bottles are worth hundreds of dollars each, police said.

quicklist:title: $120,000 Worth of Chocolate category: Weird Large-Scale Food Heistsmedia: 21193396text: The Volusia County, Fla., Sheriff's Office said it received a call on Dec. 8, 2013 about a stolen vehicle, according to a police report. While the Freightliner Cascadia is valued at about $90,000 and the trailer is worth $19,000, it's the precious cargo inside that may have inspired robbers to go on a sweet spree.

The truck was full of $120,000 worth of Hershey Chocolate.

Hershey did not respond to a request for comment.

Local television station News 13, said the driver of the stolen truck and the 911 operator could at least have a brief laugh about it:

911 Operator: When was the last time you saw it?

Driver: Three o'clock yesterday [Saturday] was the last time I saw the truck. It's hooked to a trailer as well, fully loaded, with chocolate.

911 Operator: Fully loaded with chocolate, huh?

Driver: Yeah, someone with a sweet tooth.

911 Operator: Well, you know, maybe that's what they were going for. Who knows?

If you see a truck with the Sun State Carriers logo with $120,000 worth of chocolate inside, tell the driver the chocolate should stay cool.

quicklist:title: $400,000 Worth of Walnutscategory: Weird Large-Scale Food Heistsmedia: 20795727text: California's fourth-biggest agricultural export, walnuts were the target of food thieves in Escalon, a city about 88 miles east of San Francisco.

The thieves stole 140,000 pounds of walnuts worth $400,000 on Nov. 3, 2013 from grower GoldenRiver Orchards, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Walnuts are worth about $2 a pound to farmers, up from about $1.85 last year, the Times reported.

This may be the biggest heist of walnuts the state has seen so far. Last month, 12,000 pounds of walnuts worth $50,000 were stolen from a trailer north of Sacramento. But below you can read more about a $300,000 walnut scam in 2012.

Read More: 8 Grossest Fast-Food Photo Moments

quicklist:1title: $25,000 in Kentucky Bourboncategory: Weird Large-Scale Food Heiststext: Cops believe the theft of more than $25,000 worth of a rare Kentucky bourbon was an inside job.

Some 65 cases of 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle were stolen from the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Ky., on Oct. 15, 2013.

Just 6,000 cases of the hooch are distilled a year. A bottle retails for about $130, but can sell for four times that on the secondary market.

Buffalo Trace recently warned customers that production could not keep pace with demand, sending prices and interest in the brand soaring.

No suspects have been named in the theft. media: 20611784

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quicklist: 2category: Weird Large-Scale Food Heiststitle: $100,000 in Hamburger Pattiesurl: text: A "patty" thief stole a refrigerated trailer containing 3,000 cartons of hamburger patties from a New Jersey shipping yard, according to New Jersey police.

Authorities were called to the scene when the shipping yard's owner alerted them to the missing burger patties worth $100,000, according to the police report.

Capt. James Sarnicki of the Linden Police Department told that the patties, which originated in Kansas City, Mo., were bound for the Netherlands.

"We notified all law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and the state police cargo theft unit," Sarnicki said. The FBI was also notified, but no arrests have been made.

Detectives are looking into the possibility that someone at the shipping yard tipped off the hamburglar. "Nothing has been recovered," Sarnicki said. "We suspected some organized criminal enterprise."

Surveillance footage showed a tractor truck hooked up to the trailer and leaving the shipping yard with the beefy load.

"If there was a trailer of cheese stolen and burgers were stolen, we know there's a connection," Sarnicki joked, referring to the March theft of 21 tons of cheese from a Wisconsin cheese company.

media: 18932955

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quicklist: 3category: Weird Large-Scale Food Heiststitle: $75,000 Worth of Soupurl: text: One man in Florida had the soup of the day -- $75,000 worth of it.

Florida highway patrol stopped a truck packed with soup on the Florida turnpike April 6, 2013 and the driver was accused of stealing the truck –- and the soup. The vehicle was being tracked by GPS.

Sgt. Mark Wysocky of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles told that the Lessors Inc. tractor-trailer and the soup have a total value of $350,000.

media: 18933068

quicklist: 4category: Weird Large-Scale Food Heiststitle: 11,000 Pounds of Nutellaurl: Who could blame thieves for stealing 11,000 pounds of creamy Nutella goodness?

The chocolate-hazelnut spread was stolen April 8, 2013 from a truck parked at a former train station in Niederaula, Germany.

According to Osthessen news, about $20,000 worth of the spread and other goods were stolen. Police officials said they believe that the Nutella thieves transferred the truck's cargo to another truck.

Large-scale food thefts are not unheard of in this particular area in Germany: Five tons of coffee and a truckload of Red Bull energy drinks have also previously gone missing, according to Osthessen news.

media: 18933791

quicklist: 5category: Weird Large-Scale Food Heiststitle: 21 Tons of Cheeseurl: A man faced the cheesiest of criminal charges in New Jersey.

The suspect was accused of stealing 42,000 pounds of Muenster cheese from a Wisconsin cheese company. He was arrested at a Bergen County rest area on the New Jersey Turnpike on March 25, 2013, the result of a joint investigation with the Saddle Brook New Jersey Police Department and the New Jersey State Police.

"He was charged with receiving stolen property and fencing," New Jersey State Police Sgt. Adam Grossman told The thief allegedly attempted to sell the load of 1,135 cases of cheese at the rest area.

Kevin Everhart, 50, owner of Pasture Pride Cheese in Wisconsin, where the cheese came from, said he did not realize the cheese had been stolen. "He came in with the proper paperwork," Everhart told "He came in as if he was picking up a shipment."

media: 18932944

quicklist: 6category: Weird Large-Scale Food Heiststitle: $65,000 in Chicken Wingsurl: Maybe they were planning a really big Super Bowl party?

Two man were arrested and charged with felony theft in connection with the $65,000 theft of chicken wings in January 2013.

The suspects worked at Nordic Distribution Center outside Atlanta, where the wings were reported stolen. The pair was allegedly seen by management backing a rental truck up to the loading area at the center and loading 10 pallets of Tyson frozen chicken wings onto the truck.

media: 18933011

quicklist: 7category: Weird Large-Scale Food Heiststitle: 6 Million Pounds of Maple Syrupurl: Last year was one sticky situation for the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.

As many as eight men were suspected of being involved in a maple syrup heist in which 6 million pounds of maple syrup were stolen in a little less than a year.

The sticky substance was taken by thieves from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, Canada, between August 2011 and July 2012. Total value of the stolen syrup was about $18 million.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup stored the overproduction of its 2011 harvest within the rented facility. The organization was unaware of the theft until the warehouse workers called to report empty syrup barrels.

Nearly two-thirds of the stolen liquid was located in New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, Canada. It was also believed that several million cans of stolen maple syrup ended up on U.S. grocery shelves.

media: 18933022

quicklist: 8category: Weird Large-Scale Food Heiststitle: $300,000 Worth of Walnutsurl: Police investigated the theft of $300,000 California walnuts in October 2012, when two trucks containing the nutty cargo never made it to their destinations, according to ABC affiliate KRCR.

The two truckloads were allegedly picked up at separate times by a driver with a Russian accent driving a white semi tractor-trailer, according to KRCR.

This description did not match the description of the driver that was supposed to pick up one of the loads, KRCR reported, noting each truckload contained about 42,000 pounds of unprocessed nuts.

media: 18933110