Cheese, Meat and Razor Blades

The Edmonton Journal reports that Vancouver thieves are targeting expensive gourmet cheese, forcing some grocers to put their cheese behind glass. The cheese is resold, often turning up in Vancouver’s “drug-and violence-plagued downtown eastside” bars. According to a police spokesperson, the most commonly shoplifted items in Vancouver are “cheese, meat and razor blades.” (HT: Eric Samuelson)[%comments]


Peter

It must be because these items have a high price per ounce/pound ratio (or gram/kilogram if you're the rest of the world). There is an underground market for cheese throughout Canada, not just in Edmonton/Vancouver. The most sought-after cheese is unpasturized and is mostly imported from rural France/Spain. It's illegal to sell unpasturized cheese in Canada, but for cheese aficionados it's the holy grail and they will pay anything to get it. Somehow it finds its way through customs and into the backrooms of cheese shops and small grocers across Canada. Next time you see a cheese shop (and you're in Canada) go in and ask for the "good stuff" and see what happens...but be prepared to pay for it!

Nina

I think they've literally run out of things to steal in Canada.

Sam

The thieves must have some quick turn around on their stolen goods. You can't really let that stuff sit around for too long.

Mark

Someone was telling me the other day that they were in some less-than-reputable bar here in Vancouver, and someone was selling cheese. It's pretty messed up.

Peter, you're right, cheese is expensive here for some reason. One of the big jokes in my family that whenever someone goes across the US border for the day, or weekend or whatever, it's a given they must bring back as much cheese as is allowed. Forget the duty free liquor, we want that cheap American cheese.

David L

Microscopic digestible homing beacons in cheese is the obvious answer.

Chris

Confirmed. For at least 10 years, in the rougher areas and especially late at night you have to get somebody to unlock the cheese for you.

There's the resale market, especially dodgy restaurants and cafes. But I wouldn't underestimate the number of people stealing it for sustenance. It's dense in calories and protein, and easy to store if you're living on the streets. And Vancouver has a serious problem with homelessness.

Matt

Cheese is expensive in Canada because of a ridiculous agricultural quota system established in the 70s: http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/backgrounder_128.pdf

I was shocked at the prices for cheese when I first moved here from the UK.

pat

If we'd all switch to safety razors, which work just as well as the ones with 15 blades, we'd all save a lot of money.

10 safety razor blades that last 2-3 shaves at the least- $1.87

RAClark

Cheese regulations governing raw milk are provincially determined. Quebec has a fantastic local cheese culture with about 240 Quebec cheeses - the majority of which are raw milk. Getting a good, raw milk, cheese from anywhere in the world is quite easy in Montreal: the only regulation is that the cheese be age more than 60 days to eliminate / reduce the likelihood of e. coli.

Librain

It just gives me the image of a seedy-looking man in a trench-coat sidling up to you and saying "Psst! Hey buddy, wanna buy some cheese?"