Patt Morrison For January 4, 2012

Stalled economy fosters creative criminality and theft of some strange loot

2011 Cooktown Hog Hunt

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Crafty criminals are casting a wider net: Farm league criminals may be partial to convenience stores, but the economic downturn has inspired some enterprising thieves to widen the scope of their illegal endeavors… in some cases to actual farms.

Items now being targeted by thieves have recently included hogs, dogs, brass and coupons. With pork prices at an all-time high and designer dogs in a lot of backyards, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that these items have turned up missing. Other criminals are casting an even wider net to make some cool cash. Brass rings from inside fire hydrants can fetch $15 a piece at the scrap yard, and thrifty thieves have even resorted to stealing coupon inserts right out of peoples’ mailboxes. Another peculiar item on the list of criminals’ top ten is human hair. Human hair is frequently imported from Malaysia and India to be used for pricey weaves, wigs and extensions. The market for hot locks is more lucrative than one would believe – one hair heist netted the perps around $70K to $90K of hair. Are Tony Soprano and Co. diversifying?

WEIGH IN:

How do you target criminals when they’re stealing everything? Is anything safe? What can law enforcement about it?

Guest:

Brad Tuttle, journalist, TIME’s Moneyland


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