A bizarre string of grocery store thefts has baffled police in Sweden, who have no idea why people have suddenly started stealing large quantities of chewing gum.
According to The Local, supermarkets in southern Sweden have seen a run on their chewing gum displays. Thieves have stolen approximately 15,000 kroner, or $1,886, worth of gum, and that’s a lot of gum.
On New Year’s Eve, one thief was caught making off with $380 worth of gum from a supermarket. He reportedly told police he was planning on giving gum to all his friends for the holiday. And back in November, a completely different thief stole $300 worth of gum from the same store. That thief said he was planning to trade the gum for a jacket, though it is unclear where a person would go to make a transaction like that.
A different store said someone had stolen $1,260 worth of gum, with the thieves coming back on different days to carry away "hundreds of bags" of chewing gum, according to shop staff. Police are as surprised as anybody by the gum spree.
A police spokesperson said, “I have no idea why chewing gum has become such a popular thing to steal. It has no value unless you steal so many packages.”
The gum thefts are being treated as normal cases of theft, and police say people caught stealing gum could be charged with shoplifting unless they steal more than $1,260 worth, in which case they could be charged with theft.