A man was caught with 21 tons of stolen cheese and arrested in New Jersey. Veniamin Konstantinovich Balika was arrested when authorities discovered him on the New Jersey turnpike. He was reportedly driving a truck containing an estimated $200,000 worth of muenster cheese.
Authorities report that Balika used forged documents to trick employees at the K&K Cheese company into loading 42,000 pounds of muenster cheese into his refrigerated truck. The man reportedly transported the cheese thousands of miles, from Cashton, Wisconsin to New Jersey, before he was finally captured by the New Jersey State Police Cargo Theft unit.
As reported by CHANNEL3000.com, Balika hoped to profit from selling the 21 tons of stolen cheese along the east coast. New Jersey State Police Detective Oliver Sissman states that the man likely intended to sell the cheese below market value.
Sissman points out that “there’s a black market for everything.” He states that he has recovered food items and beer intended for black market sale, but never cheese.
As reported by CBS Chicago, K&K Cheese is not interested in recovering the cheese as they cannot guarantee that it has been properly stored. They expect to be reimbursed by the contracted trucking company.
The 21 tons of stolen muenster cheese was intended for delivery in Texas. K&K general manager Kevin Everhart states that this is the first time someone has stolen their cheese. The distribution center ships cheeses and gift packages, nationwide, under the Old Country Cheese Factory label. Their cheeses are made using milk provided by hundreds of Amish farms in the surrounding area.
Balika was arrested for the theft and is currently being held in New Jersey. He is facing criminal charges for the heist.
Thankfully, the 42,000 pounds of stolen cheese will not go to waste. Health inspectors in New Jersey will test the cheese for quality and will likely donate it to charity organizations throughout the state.
[Image via pixabay]