A semitrailer full of $50,000 worth of margarine was stolen earlier this month from an Iowa truck stop where it was parked. The perpetrators absconded with their golden bounty but left the trailer behind. It was found abandoned near Lansing, Michigan, the following week, its 500-mile journey shrouded in mystery. So far, police have no suspects in the case. If and when police do make an arrest, the criminal defense case will undoubtedly be entertaining.
A rash of trailer thefts has plagued northeast Iowa lately. In the last 18 months alone, trailers containing such disparate items as dog food, dental hygiene products and beef jerky have been stolen. The reason that the seemingly random items being taken is that the people who are stealing the trailers aren't sure exactly what they're taking. As a local police captain put it to a reporter, "When these people hook up to these things, how do they know what's in there unless you break the seal and look inside?"
Despite the somewhat ridiculous nature of the items stolen, police are not laughing. At some point, if investigations lead to an arrest of a suspect--probably more than one suspect, judging from the sheer size of the caper--very serious charges will be levied. Those who are ultimately charged with a crime in the case can expect to be threatened with the possibility of jail time, considering the amount of the goods that were stolen.
Although many questions remain in the case, the Iowa police captain may have best summed up the bizarre nature of the crime, telling a reporter: "How in the world do you get rid of $50,000 of margarine?"
Source: Detroit Free Press, "Thief pulls off a $50,000 margarine caper," Dec. 22, 2011