Cheese smuggling, pork snatching and other food crimes
October 5th, 2012
12:45 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

Is it my imagination or is food-related crime on the rise?
Not that criminal activity involving food is a brand new thing. The Chicago Tribune reported in July 2004, on the activities of Michael Monn, who was arrested on his 23rd birthday in Maryville, Tennessee, while drunk, nude and covered with nacho cheese.
According to Maryville Police Department officer Scott Spicer, "The male had nacho cheese in his hair, on his face and on his shoulders."

The report went on to say, "The nude male had a strong odor of alcohol and was semi-incoherent. Investigators said someone climbed an 8-foot fence, broke into the pool snack bar through a window, threw nacho cheese on a wall and scattered chips on the ground. About $40 in chips and $7 in nacho cheese were stolen."

Here, a few more recent crimes - some much more serious than others—from the culinary world.

Crime: Stealing Vodka and Pork Belly

Shawn McAleese pleaded guilty to "breaking into residential homes and then tunneling through walls to steal money, computers and food from neighboring businesses" in New York City in September (according to Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., via the New York Times).

McAleese stole hamburgers, vodka and $4,000 cash from Molloy's Irish Pub in Hell's Kitchen. (A manager at Molloy’s noted that McAleese did not take any of the restaurant’s “fabulous single-malt Irish whiskey.”) At Kyotufu on 9th Avenue, McAleese did lift bottles of Jameson's Irish whiskey; he also made off with a slab of pork belly, three laptops and $8,300. 

Sentence: 28 to 56 years in prison

Crime: Cooking Your Spouse
In late September, chef David Viens was convicted of killing and then cooking his wife in October 2009. According to a family friend, Viens thought that she'd stolen money from their restaurant, Thyme Contemporary Café in Lomita, CA. Viens said that he packed her dead body into a large drum and slow-cooked it in boiling water for four days, the Los Angeles Times reported. The chef says he then poured the liquid down the grease trap at the restaurant and threw the solid remains in the trash. Viens’s defense attorney dismissed the story: "Is it even feasible to boil a body in water?" he asked.
Sentence: 15 years to life in prison

Crime: Cheese Smuggling
Police charged two Canadian police officers (one current, one former) with attempting to smuggle $203,000 worth of cheese from the US into Canada to sell to restaurants in southern Ontario. According to the New York Daily News, Bob Abumeeiz, who owns Arcata Pizzeria in Windsor, had been approached four times by someone selling "contraband" cheese from the US. He said he spends 60 percent of his restaurant's income on cheese, but he declined the offer for "black market cheese."

"I get it, there's absolutely a market for it. Cheese is expensive, it's considered 'white gold' in this industry,” said Abumeeiz.
Sentence: Case pending

Crime: Murder (Over the Name of a Pork Dish)

John Cunningham of St. Louis was charged with the murder of his uncle over a discussion of what to call the pork that they were preparing to cook. Cunningham called the meat "pork steaks," but his uncle called them "pork chops."

They got into a violent argument, and Cunningham allegedly shot Lowe with a shotgun. Lowe died later at the hospital. Cunningham, who was correct about the pork cut, was taken into custody, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Sentence: Case pending

Crime: Food Truck Theft
A Kissimmee, FL, man is being investigated for stealing a trailer and a food truck. The food truck was buried on top of the trailer. Why? To create a backyard underground bunker in preparation for the apocalypse.
Sentence: Case under investigation

More from Food & Wine:

America’s Best Bars

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Best Burgers in the U.S.

Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

Ultimate Tailgating Guide

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Kate K.

    I've been known to pork snatches.

    October 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  2. Snaporaz

    Every time you go take a piece of meat with you

    October 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  3. It's kind of scary

    The murderer gets a minimum of 15 years, while the pork/vodka thief gets a minimum of 28 years. Shouldn't that be reversed?

    October 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • peridot2

      The murderer must have cut a deal with the DA. Frightening, isn't it?

      October 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  4. Dr.Watch

    What?! The food crimes based on murder are pretty much dark comedy. Did you know that moose get drunk in Sweden because they eat fermented apples. They attack people and police said that their behavior is not acceptable here. Even, they drove off some of the moose who were caused a rampage at a neighborhood.

    October 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  5. dfrancis

    Haha wow this is absolutely ridiculous :)

    October 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  6. Truth™

    This guy looks like AleeD is doing a number on him in her dungeon...

    October 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • AleeD®

      ... yet he keeps coming back for more...

      October 8, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  7. Martin

    Dont forget about the $20 million in maple syrup stolen in Quebec recovered in N.B.

    Read more:

    October 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  8. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    That guy looks like he's smuggling some cheese right now.

    October 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • AleeD®

      Or he's getting his pork snatched. ~_~

      October 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • AleeD®

      Or he's getting his p0rk sn@tched. ~_~

      October 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
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