Two Missouri men exchanged gunshots over whether to call these cuts of
pork "chops" or "steaks". © Quentin Bacon
Is it my imagination or is food-related crime on the rise?
Not that criminal activity involving food is a brand new thing. Here’s an AP dispatch from July 2004, featuring the activities of Michael Monn, who was arrested on his 23rd birthday in Maryville, TN, while "drunk, nude and covered with nacho cheese." Take it away, AP:
"Monn was detained early Sunday as he ran toward a Jeep in the parking lot outside a swimming pool snack bar. According to police, he was stark naked and was carrying a box of Frito Lay snacks and a container of nacho cheese. 'The male had nacho cheese in his hair, on his face and on his shoulders,' Maryville Police Department officer Scott Spicer said.…Investigators suspect Monn climbed an 8-foot fence, broke into the pool snack bar through a window, threw nacho cheese on a wall and scattered chips on the ground. About $40 in chips and $7 in nacho cheese were stolen."
Here, a few more recent crimes—some much more serious than others—from the culinary world.
Crime: Cooking Your Spouse
In late September, chef David Viens was convicted of killing and then cooking his wife in October 2009. According to a family friend, Viens thought that she'd stolen money from their restaurant, Thyme Contemporary Café in Lomita, CA. Viens said that he packed her dead body into a large drum and slow-cooked it in boiling water for four days, the Los Angeles Times reported. The chef says he then poured the liquid down the grease trap at the restaurant and threw the solid remains in the trash. Viens’s defense attorney dismissed the story: "Is it even feasible to boil a body in water?" he asked.
Sentence: 15 years to life in prison
Crime: Stealing Vodka and Pork Belly
Shawn McAleese pleaded guilty to "breaking into residential homes and then tunneling through walls to steal money, computers and food from neighboring businesses" in New York City in September (according to Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., via the New York Times). McAleese stole hamburgers and vodka (and $4,000 cash) from Molloy's Irish Pub in Hell's Kitchen. (A manager at Molloy’s noted that McAleese did not take any of the restaurant’s “fabulous single-malt Irish whiskey.”) At Kyotufu on 9th Avenue, McAleese did lift bottles of Jameson's Irish whiskey; he also made off with a slab of pork belly, three laptops and $8,300.
Sentence: 28 to 56 years in prison
Crime: Cheese Smuggling
Police charged two Canadian police officers (one current, one former) with attempting to smuggle $203,000 worth of cheese from the US into Canada to sell to restaurants in southern Ontario. According to the New York Daily News, Bob Abumeeiz, who owns Arcata Pizzeria in Windsor, had been approached four times by someone selling "contraband" cheese from the US. He said he spends 60 percent of his restaurant's income on cheese, but he declined the offer for "black market cheese." "I get it, there's absolutely a market for it. Cheese is expensive, it's considered 'white gold' in this industry,” said Abumeeiz.
Sentence: Case pending
Crime: Murder (Over the Name of a Pork Dish)
John Cunningham of St. Louis was charged with the murder of his uncle over a discussion of what to call the pork that they were preparing to cook. Cunningham called the meat "pork steaks," but his uncle called them "pork chops." They got into a violent argument, and Cunningham allegedly shot Lowe with a shotgun. Lowe died later at the hospital. Cunningham, who was correct about the pork cut, was taken into custody, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch via the New York Daily News.
Sentence: Case pending
Crime: Food Truck Theft
A Kissimmee, FL, man is being investigated for stealing a trailer and a food truck. The food truck was buried on top of the trailer. Why? To create a backyard underground bunker in preparation for the apocalypse.
Sentence: Case under investigation