Italian Thieves Steal $7 Million Worth of Parmesan

Forget jewels, the real money is in cheese
Parmesan wheels

Wikimedia/Brian Boucheron

Thieves in Italy have reportedly stolen $7 million worth of Parmesan cheese from small producers in the past two years. 

Forget jewels and watches, the real money is apparently in cheese, because thieves in Italy have managed to make off with $7 million worth of Parmesan in just two years.

According to The Local, over the past two years thieves have stolen roughly six million euros, or $6.85 million, worth of high-end Italian Parmesan cheese. Parmigiano-Reggiano is a favorite target of thieves because it’s portable, expensive, and surprisingly easy to steal from small, artisanal producers who do not have heavily-guarded warehouses or high-tech security systems. One 40-kilogram wheel of two-year-old aged Parmesan is worth about $570, according to Riccardo Deserti, the director of Italy’s Parmesan Cheese Consortium, and in a single heist thieves can generally make off with thousands of euros worth of cheese.

“The problem is, we're talking about rural, artisanal producers, small businesses that are often not equipped with advanced anti-theft systems,” Deserti said.


Cheese is also relatively easy to sell. The wheels are marked by their producers, but thieves can just cut up the wheels into smaller pieces and sell them to unsuspecting cheese-lovers in Italy and the rest of Europe.