Why Would Anyone Steal It?

My son is graduating in a few weeks. We have been sitting on an invoice from the school for two years.  At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, we received a statement saying he/we owed $78 for a missing algebra book. I had been expecting it. He told us one night that he had left the book in a classroom and needed to pick it up before algebra class the next day. The next day the book was gone, and no one knew where. Seriously?

My son is the only one I know who is anywhere near as absent-minded as I am. I kept losing my keys, so my family bought me one of those electronic beepers you attach to the keyring. One day I couldn’t find the keys. And couldn’t remember where I left the control button.

He’s been able to retrieve earbuds, personal books, and favorite pens over the years. Out of everything that’s he’s forgotten overnight, the only one that went missing was the algebra book? My guess is that someone else couldn’t find their book and thought his belonged to them. That’s a much less disturbing thought than the idea that someone looked at it and said, “Wow! I’ve been looking for one of these! Can’t believe someone left this beauty behind.”

Coincidentally, I was reading the current issue of Time. (Yes, in paper form.) In the Roundup section, there were the World’s Weirdest Heists. I had seen the one about the missing manhole covers in New York City a couple of years ago. They were only worth $30 apiece. Maybe they wanted the publicity. Or maybe they were looking for a challenge. I’ve been in NYC; I’m not sure how you could do it without someone seeing you.

They also say that 6 million pounds of maple syrup was stolen from a Quebec warehouse in 2011 and 2012. It was worth about $18 million. Since it was stolen over a period of time, maybe it was someone inside the warehouse taking home a little at a time. “Gee, Joe you smell like maple syrup.” “Not really; it’s my new cologne.” Eventually they found two-thirds of it. Doesn’t seem to be much of a secondary market for it.

Somewhat similarly, in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, they lost 5.5 tons of Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) when someone robbed a parked trailer. It was worth about $20,000. I was wondering whether they had the Nutella in jars or bulk. Probably in jars. Either way, how do you take that much of something without being seen? It’s not like you wouldn’t need some sort of massive vehicle yourself.  I can’t imagine what you would do with it. Sell it to a rogue food truck company? Use it to lure animals?

In Jamaica, someone took about 500 truckloads of beach sand from the construction site of a $108 million resort. I imagine that was for another resort that was either being built or having erosion problems. We have gravel pits around here. They check to make sure that when the trucks go out they have gravel, and when they come back there is no gravel. You would think that someone might have thought “Gee, we’re building here, not tearing down. Shouldn’t we be keeping the sand here?”

My favorite is the bridge that was stolen in the Czech Republic in 2012. The thieves created fake work documents for the police and dismantled a 10-ton pedestrian crossing. You would think a project that size would have attracted the attention of people using the crossing. Apparently the local government didn’t notice at all.  There was about $6,000 of scrap metal taken. Guess it’s the reverse of people selling the Brooklyn Bridge to new immigrants.

I guess if you do something so odd that people can’t imagine why anyone would want to do it, they don’t think you shouldn’t be doing it. Now I need to find a clever way to take a ton of chocolate and hide it from my neighbors.

7 thoughts on “Why Would Anyone Steal It?

  1. And now, in Michigan, they have discovered three tons of algebra textbooks …

    The only think that makes sense to me, Cat, is that somebody else lost theirs and came up with the easy solution of snagging your son’s. Look at the price on the bill they sent you! Ridiculous. That would lead a kid to grab somebody else’s instead of facing the financial music, I think. Or, somebody swiped it and sold it to a used bookstore somewhere?

  2. Even better, stash the empty chocolate containers at your neighbors place, and let them take the heat!

    In NYC, anyone can do just about anything and be completely ignored.
    We’re all just in too much of a rush to notice.
    Or care.

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