Livestock, laundry detergent and other strange theft trends - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Livestock, laundry detergent and other strange theft trends

According to the FBI, more than 9,000,000 property crimes were committed across the country in one year alone. And we're not just talking about stolen cars and purses. Cash hungry crooks are getting more creative than ever! 

The Bureau of Justice reports that one out of four property thefts are committed by drug addicts. These desperate thieves are looking for cash or other things they can quickly turn into cash.  And with the continued rise in methamphetamine use, police are seeing an ever-growing list of unlikely items being stolen.

America Now host, Leeza Gibbons, met with the LAPD to find out what new and unusual things thieves are targeting—you're going to be surprised by some of stuff they're after!

Lt. Alan Hamilton says, "there's a very, very large industry out there for human hair. The human hair industry is being targeted specifically by thieves that know the value of that human hair. The value of some of this human hair runs into the hundreds of dollars. You start talking about going into some of these businesses and removing a lot of this hair, now you're getting into the thousands of dollars."

Copper is another commodity thieves can quickly sell for cash. In fact, nearly $1 billion worth is stolen every year. But Hamilton says other sources of recyclable metal are also being swiped.

"We've had a trend of people stealing drain grates where they can remove them from the ground, from parking structures, and from other places and turn that over and recycle it through a crooked recycler," says Hamilton.

He also reports that a variety of everyday goods are being stolen in large numbers. He says big jugs of liquid laundry detergent are frequently targeted.

"Even though they may be large, they're easily transportable, they're easy to kind of control and if you look at each of these maybe large bulk laundry detergent containers as a $20 bill, then it kind of takes on a little different perspective," he explains.

Baby formula is also very high on the list.

"There are baby formula theft rings, because it's an item that will always be in demand. It's an item that they will always be able to turn around for quick cash and nobody's tracking it," Hamilton observes.

But it begs the question: Are there really buyers that are waiting for such stuff?

"Absolutely," says Hamilton. "There are black markets out there. There are swap meets, there are second hand dealers, there are flea market type places. And a lot of those are used as fencing operations."

For the average consumer, this means that you could be supporting a theft ring when you look for those bargains.

Hamilton says it just goes with the old adage, ‘If something's too good to be true, it probably is.'

Here's another unusual category that crooks are targeting: Livestock. Time Magazine recently reported that thieves poached around 1,000 pigs from farms in Minnesota and Iowa. In one of these heists, swine swindlers made off with more than $100,000 in pigs.

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