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Grand Theft: Meat—Purloined Pork and Stolen Steaks

Updated on October 13, 2015

The long arm of the law snagged polka king Frankie Yankovic on July 25, 1983. Yankovic was apprehended with a steak and a pound of bacon in his pants as he left the Lake Shore Super Foods in Euclid, Ohio. Yankovic had paid for his other groceries, and police reported he had $900 when arrested.

It turns out that meat theft, although funny to you and me, is a serious, oft-practiced crime.

Sister Act

Two sisters were arrested on Dec. 21, 2011 at the Fiesta Mart in Fort Worth, Tex., for removing the price sticker from a pork roast, placing it on a larger roast and attempting to purchase it. 70-year-old Carmen Bautista and her kid sister, 60-year-old Francisca, were charged with a misdemeanor for fraudulent destruction, removal or concealment of writing. Merry Christmas!

I have to tell you, Carmen looks none too happy in the mugshot on the Fox 4 KDFW website. I wonder how she'd look if she had a steak and a pound of bacon in her pants.

There's no more than a hotdog in there.
There's no more than a hotdog in there. | Source

Grand Theft Meat

Elsewhere in Texas, Mario Reynoso and Angela Viscaino were arrested on Dec. 17, 2011 for walking out of an Alberstons supermarket in El Paso with over $80 worth of meat. Police arrested the pair, who had sped from the scene in a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am that had been reported stolen on Dec. 10.

Here's how I see this one. If you're going to risk arrest, you might as well steal something commensurate with the punishment for the crime, or perhaps steal prepared food, so you can eat the evidence if apprehended.

I'm not familiar with Albertsons prepared food. It may not be worth stealing, although they have really yummy photos of deli party trays and roasted turkey breast on the ShopLocal website, and they get great reviews for their fried chicken and tri-tip sandwiches on Yelp. “I'm not sure if they have daily deals, but I know that Monday they have a chicken dinner deal that is really cheap,” says David C. of Lancaster, Cal.

Cheap chicken dinner, killer tri-tip sandwich ... what's not to like?

Operation Meat Locker

Over in Austin—what is it with Texas and meat theft?—police raided three restaurants back in July for allegedly serving meat that had been stolen. The local government shut down all three establishments as public health threats.

This was the culmination of Operation Meat Locker, which started when police learned of large-scale meat theft from H-E-B supermarkets by individuals who then sold the meat to restaurants. Undercover cops—hey, I'm not making this up—tried to sell meat to some 25 stores, and only three—Sam's BBQ, La Morenita and Willie's BBQ—took them up on it.

At least the buyers kept it out of their pants, so to speak.

Stick with the bacon.
Stick with the bacon. | Source

That wasn't the case in Naples, Fla., where UPI reports that Dannial Ashley was apprehended in early December, 2011, after stuffing four steaks and some candles in his pants at a grocery store and departing the premises. Police arrested him and returned the goods to the store, says The Huffington Post. Let's hope the steaks weren't sold to someone else.

Your Cannoli or Your Life

ABC News reported in September 2012 that 25-year-old Robert McTernan, an Irish tourist, had been arrested for stealing a cannoli at knifepoint from a bakery in Boston. Apparently, this was not a cannoli to die for.

Barbecue Bandit

Meanwhile, a meat bandit has been befuddling perplexed authorities in San Antonio, Tex. In late February 2015 Augie's Barbed Wire Smokehouse posted security footage on its Facebook page showing a man making off with 13 briskets, 10 cases of beer and spanking new trash can, which may have been used to transport the loot.

Augie's joins a growing list of victims that includes B & B Smokehouse, the Smoke Shack and Two Bros. BBQ Market.

I suggest authorities be on the lookout for a shifty-looking individual with a greasy chin.

Beans: Food of the Future

In April the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture warned Americans to expect 6- to 7-percent increases in meat prices in 2011, and the United Nations predicted price hikes of as much as 30 percent in the coming decade, according to the GOOD website. GOOD encourages a vegetarian diet, or at least consuming less meat, pointing out that a pound of dry black beans costs just a couple bucks and contains about 110 grams of protein.

Who knows? If diets continue to change, there might someday be a rash of bean theft. At least a bag of beans won't chill your private parts, although with all those items passing through, I'm not sure how private they are.


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    • Eric Newland profile image

      Eric Newland 5 years ago from Dayton, Ohio

      "No, really, officer! I'm just happy to see you!"