If one were going to go on a crime spree in Europe, a person could have worse targets than the region of Parmigiano Reggiano, where a gang of savvy cheese thieves successfully pilfered more than $878,000 worth of cheese wheels.
According to The Local, police in the region say a gang of 11 thieves has been touring the area and scoping out factories and warehouses that might make easy marks. Over the course of 14 months from November 2013 to January 2015, the thieves reportedly stole 2,039 wheels of Parmesan from various producers. Their haul in total was reportedly worth €785,000, or $878,768. That averages out to about $430 per stolen Parmesan wheel.
Parmigiano Reggiano’s prized cheese is a protected product in Europe, and only cheese produced in the region can officially be called Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Police announced on Monday that they had issued arrest warrants for the 11 thieves after an investigation into the gang turned up equipment used to bypass security systems to break into buildings and abscond with some very large wheels of cheese.