Who Stole The Cheese? $90,000 Of Stolen Parmesan Found, Thieves Remain At Large

Cheese is serious business in Wisconsin, and authorities have successfully managed to track down $90,000 worth of parmesan that was stolen on January 14. Another $70,000 worth of cheese, stolen one week later, on January 22, has also been recovered, but local police remain unsure who stole the cheese in either one of the heists.

The Hub City Times reports that a load of parmesan cheese worth about $90,000 was stolen from WOW Logistics in Marshfield, Wisconsin, on Janurary 14, 2016.

The cheese was originally produced in La Sueur, Minnesota, but it was transported roughly 200 miles to the Marshfield WOW Logistics facility for aging. From there, the cheese was to be shipped to Elgin, Illinois, for distribution.

According to police reports, a logistics company called RMX was charged with transporting the parmesan to from Wisconsin to Illinois, but the cheese was stolen first.

$200 worth of cheese
This single block of parmesan is worth nearly $200. In total, more than 40,000 lbs. of parmesan was stolen. [AP Photo/Marco Vasini]
The $90,000 worth of parmesan was missing for nearly a week before a tip from someone in the industry led police to the location of the stolen cheese, The Hub City Times reports.

Marshfield Police Department Administrative Lieutenant Darren Larson told The Hub City Times that a tip suggested that the cheese had found its way to a facility in Grand Chute, Wisconsin.

Marshfield police then “requested Grand Chute authorities to go over to this facility,” Larson told The Hub City Times. “They met with no resistance, they met with cooperation, and they confirmed that the product was sitting there on the floor and had been for several days, apparently.”

According to Larson, the stolen cheese had likely been “sold and resold on a number of different levels in the cheese market since its theft.”

Local news outlet CBS 58 reports that when the cheese was stolen, the thieves broke a federally-mandated seal. In breaking the seal, the cheese was rendered legally useless, as it is not legal to sell, or resell, cheese in that state.

In order to reenter the legitimate cheese market the way that it did, Larson told The Hub City Times that the thief must have made up some type of backstory to explain the broken seal. Tracing that falsified backstory could be the key to tracking down the thief.

According to Larson, the stolen cheese was probably bought and sold by several businesses that were not aware it had been stolen.

“It appears to have possibly ended up in a number of different facilities only to return to central Wisconsin,” Larson told The Hub City Times, “then ultimately being shipped to over by Grand Chute.”

parmesan cheese
Like parmesan cheese dumped out on the floor, the recovered cheese has been rendered useless for sale. [AP Photo/J. David Ake]
In the other recent cheese heist, $70,000 of Wisconsin cheese was stolen from a semi-trailer in Germantown, Wisconsin. That case involved a trailer loaded with cheese being backed up to an empty trailer. The cheese thieves transferred their haul and left the empty trailer behind for the police to find.

“We found that the trailer was empty,” Lieutenant Tod Grenier, of the Germantown Police Department, told CBS 58. “We found out where the tractor was and kind of mapped its progress through the city.”

Like the $90,000 worth of stolen parmesan, the $70,000 worth of Wisconsin cheese stolen from Germantown was ultimately located. The seal was broken, also like the parmesan, rendering it useless.

The ultimate fate of the cheese remains uncertain, although foodstuffs with broken seals are often destroyed or fed to livestock.

Although the cheese was recovered in both cases, authorities continue to investigate who, exactly, stole the cheese.

Do you think it’s right to destroy so much cheese simply because of a broken seal? The logistics companies will probably receive insurance payouts for the stolen cheese, depending on the outcome of the individual investigations, but that’s still a lot of parmesan to just go to waste.

[Photo by AP Photo/Marco Vasini]

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