Weirdest Items Ever Stolen, From Pricey Buttons to Bull Semen

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at University of Oregon


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Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at University of Oregon

Craziest Kleptomania

Most people save their money and work hard to earn enough to buy the things they want, while others turn to thievery. And though it's tempting to at least imagine stealing electronics, cars, wallets, and purses, there are some more surprising — even head-scratching — heists attempted by far more creative criminals. Some of the most bizarre acts include a recent incident involving the iconic Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. If you know of any worth adding to this list, let us know in the comments.

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Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at University of Oregon

A Wienermobile's Catalytic Converter

An Oscar Mayer Wienermobile that was touring in Las Vegas was temporarily stalled from its hot dog promoting duties after a thief cut into the bottom of the iconic ride and stole its catalytic converter. We can just picture it now: the Wienermobile in all of its orange and yellow glory hanging out in a parking lot while a criminal stealthily defiles it under the bun, all the while singing, "I'd love to be an Oscar Mayer wiener, that is what I'd truly like to be-ee-ee."

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Beef Jerky

Beef Jerky ... Lots of It

New Mexico's family-owned DeeDee’s Finest Beef Jerky is known for, well, having the finest beef jerky around. Though its reputation might attract loyal customers, it's also caught the eye of three thieves. The Espanola jerky shop was broken into not once, but twice, according to local TV station KRQE. The bandits first broke into the store at 10 p.m. and apparently the jerky was so fine, it was worth a second heist a few hours later at 4 a.m. The suspects were seen on security footage hurling bags of dried meat into trash bags. The store's owner, Denise Vigil, said in total the thieves made away with about $3,000 worth of jerky.

RelatedThe Best (and Worst) Beef Jerky Snacks

Fresh Ribeye Steaks at the Butcher Shop

$10 Million Worth of Meat

Steak prices might be falling, but not far enough to prevent meat thefts. Three Florida men were charged for stealing about $10 million worth of frozen beef throughout the Midwest. The investigation began in June when several semitrailers containing an estimated $1 million worth of frozen beef were reported stolen. Investigations revealed 45 additional heists took place in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Upon arresting the suspects, authorities recovered semitrailers containing an estimated $550,000 worth of merchandise.

Related: Cheap and Easy Beef Dinner Recipes

Caribbean Beach

A Beach

You know that feeling when you’re having a relaxing day at the beach and think to yourself, “Man, I wish I could just take the beach home with me”? That’s basically what happened when a group of thieves decided to tow away 500 truckloads of sand from Coral Spring Beach in Jamaica back in 2008. It’s more likely that the perpetrators sold the sand to landscaping and building companies, not kept it all to themselves — but whatever the motive, their plan was clearly well thought out: They never got caught.


5 Tons of Nutella

We know there are plenty of foods and condiments with cult followings, but stealing 5 tons of Nutella seems excessive even for the most diehard fans of the chocolate-hazelnut spread. In Germany in 2013, a group of thieves stole around 6,875 jars of Nutella — about the equivalent of two medium-sized elephants, if you were wondering.

A picture of pistachio nuts ready to eat

21 Tons of Pistachios

A California trucker was apparently feeling a little nutty last year and was arrested for stealing 21 tons of pistachios. The theft was discovered after the producer, Touchstone Pistachio, conducted a routine audit and noticed that nearly 42,000 pounds of the nuts were unaccounted for. After an investigation, authorities were able to track down the tractor-trailer holding the nuts, which had been moved from the trucking lot so Alberto Montemayor, the thief, could sell the pistachios in smaller quantities and turn a profit.

Brown Patch

Bull Semen

To the average person, robbing bull semen seems pretty off the wall, but those who work with cattle understand how valuable a good bloodline can be. And farm-owner John Azevedo knows. Someone knew the bull semen from his farm was elite stuff and stole three tanks full of it from the back of one of his workers’ trucks late one night in 2016. The top-of-the-line semen was worth about $50,000 and was enough to impregnate about 1,000 cows. 

piece of cheese isolated on a white background
HONG VO/istockphoto

20,000 Pounds of Cheese

Does it get much more cliche than a cheese heist in Wisconsin? A driver hauling 20,000 pounds of cheese from Green Bay to Milwaukee in 2017 stopped to have his truck serviced and parked his trailer in what he thought to be a safe spot. When he returned, he discovered that someone lifted his $46,000 load of cheese. Police never found the thieves.

Albert Einstein
United States Library of Congress

Albert Einstein’s Brain

Fascination with Einstein’s brain makes sense. But one man’s fascination went too far. The day after the genius’s cremation in 1955, his son learned that his body wasn't intact — his brain was removed and taken. Apparently, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy, Thomas Harvey, took the brain without permission to study it for scientific purposes. After admitting to taking it, he was allowed to preserve it in a jar and keep it.

Napoleon Was Short
National Portrait Gallery

Napoleon Bonaparte’s Unmentionables

Apparently, stealing organs and body parts from famous figures during autopsies is a trend. When Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821, the doctor conducting his autopsy cut off his … you know … and gave it to a priest in Corsica. As if that’s not disgusting enough, the appendage wasn’t properly preserved, so its appearance has been compared to that of jerky, and according to Time magazine, a “maltreated strip of buckskin shoelace." The “relic” was bought by a urologist in 1977 for $3,000; he stored it under his bed for 30 years. When he died, his daughter inherited it. She has fielded at least one offer to buy it for $100,000.

fairy penguin

A Penguin Named Dirk

When three men stole a fairy penguin named Dirk in 2012 from SeaWorld in Australia, they decided to brag about it on social media, apparently thinking no one would see it and turn them in. Naturally, the posts made their way to local authorities, who were able to recover the penguin under a pier, arrest the thieves, and get the penguin back to SeaWorld unscathed.

Man choosing cosmetics in supermarket

66 Sticks of Deodorant

Though he didn’t get away with it, a 35-year-old New Jersey man was caught in 2015 trying to make away with about $289 worth of items in his supermarket shopping cart. Among the items were 66 sticks of deodorant, begging the question: Was he the world’s sweatiest thief? 

old metal sewer manhole cover in asphalt
Евгений Харитонов/istockphoto

New York City Maintenance Hole Covers

Trips to the scrap yard can be a great way to make a little bit of cash if you have some metal to get rid of, but that doesn’t mean you should go around swiping maintenance hole covers from across New York City. There were a handful of thieves who didn’t get that memo in 2012 — more than 30 of the covers were stolen from March to May of that year, leaving dangerous holes in the roadways and sidewalks.

Red corduroy with a gold button.

Buttons Off High-End Clothing

As Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega awaited sentencing in 1992 after a conviction for drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering, his wife Felicidad Noriega was left to explore her own bout with crime. One month before he was sentenced to 40 years in prison, she was accused of stealing 27 buttons from 10 high-fashion outfits at a Burdines department store. She faced up to five years in prison, but didn’t end up joining her husband behind bars; she was instead slapped with fines and community service.

The ‘Singin’ In the Rain’ Lamppost

The ‘Singin’ In the Rain’ Lamppost

Have you wondered what becomes of props from iconic movies? When it comes to the famous lamppost from “Singin’ in the Rain,” the 1952 musical starring Gene Kelly, an MGM art department employee named Bryan Goetzinger got to take the post home with him. He put it in his own front yard, where it remained on display — until 1990, when someone stole it. Goetzinger never got it back.

Chick-fil-A Cow Costume

Chick-fil-A Cow Costumes

Of all the things to take from a Chick-fil-A, a man stole two cow costumes valued at about $2,800 from the restaurant and listed them on Craigslist for $350 apiece in 2013, practically begging to get caught. He was quickly busted and thrown behind bars with a bail set at $27,500 — not exactly worth the risk of the $700 he planned to make from his heist.