What Do You Do With Five Metric Tons of Stolen Nutella?

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
April 8 2013 4:34 PM

What Do You Do With Five Metric Tons of Stolen Nutella?

Nutella
A woman spreads Nutella on a slice of bread in Milan November 20, 2009.

Photo by Stefano Rellandini / Reuters

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The Associated Press reports that thieves in Bad Hersfeld, Germany have made away with five metric tons of Nutella, a chocolate-hazelnut spread voted “Item Least Likely to be Stolen in Bulk” in last year’s Larceny Awards. Though Nutella is delicious, it doesn’t have much resale value: the AP reports that the stolen spread was worth a little less than $21,000. Let’s assume the Nutella wasn’t stolen by mistake. What in the world do you do with five metric tons of chocolate-y goodness?

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Fence it. The most likely option. Professional thieves don’t typically dispose of their booty themselves. Rather, they bring it to a middleman who, for a fee, will find a buyer for the stolen merchandise. Granted, it is probably easier to fence electronics, or cigarettes, or goods for which there is an established black market. But a good fence will likely be able to find some unscrupulous grocer or eccentric chocolate lover who’ll jump at buying a truck’s worth of Nutella, no questions asked.

Peddle it. The thieves could conceivably try to sell the Nutella on their own. This would increase their profit, but would also increase their risk of getting caught. A lot of thieves resell stolen goods on eBay and Craigslist, and I guess that’s an option here, though I’m not sure how you would word the listing such that the Nutella appears to have been legitimately acquired. (“I stocked up on Nutella for the apocalypse, which didn’t come. Now I need the space in my bunker for a pool table.”) Other options: going door to door like Girl Scouts, starting a roadside kiosk or pop-up shop, or selling it to the producers of the German version of Double Dare, if that actually exists.

Eat it. This is what I would be loudly advocating for, if I were a member of this gang of thieves. I’d much rather have a lifetime supply of Nutella than the few thousand bucks I’d get from fencing or re-selling the stuff. I don’t even like Nutella, but I would learn to like it.

Use it as part of a scheme. The AP story reports that thieves stole a load of energy drinks from the same depot sometime in the recent past. This leads me to believe that the Nutella was stolen as part of a larger plan, the depravity of which we can’t even begin to imagine. You can use frozen orange juice to make napalm, right? There’s gotta be some sort of IED you can make from Nutella and Red Bull.

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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