Certain items are gold on the black market: razors, electronics, cold medicine, sunglasses, booze bottles, and other small, pricey things. But Spam? In Hawaii, where Spam is a prized staple, theft of the canned meat product is actually a big problem, and thieves are stealing hundreds of cans at a time for resale on the black market.
According to Hawaii News Now, which published the jarring headline “Addicts using Spam to score quick cash for drugs,” people have begun stealing whole cases of Spam from groceries as well as making off with a can or two at a time. It’s such a popular food item that it’s very easy to resell, and the fact that it has such a long shelf life is also another motivation. One woman quoted in the article said that “she sees cans of food being sold on the street almost every day.”
In response, shop owners have been forced to keep their Spam stocks under lock and key, according to Civil Beat. Several markets have been forced to keep all their canned meat behind the counter up front, and others keep them in locked cases. Thieves are becoming more and more brazen, “usually walking through the store in groups of four, grabbing what they need and fleeing from the store fast,” according to the site.
Spam retails for about $2.50 per can, but cans of corned beef are also a popular target for thieves, because they can sell for upwards of $5 apiece.
Last year, the Hawaii State Legislature changed the legal definition of felony theft from $350 to $750, so thieves can steal about 300 cans before risking a felony charge, making them even more brazen, according to The Washington Post. For 11 things you didn’t know about SPAM, click here.