Why Is An Epidemic Of Thievery Sweeping America?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Desperate people do desperate things, and it appears that Americans are rapidly becoming a lot more desperate.  An epidemic of thievery is sweeping across America, and authorities are not quite sure what to make of it. 

Down in Texas, cattle thieves can get up to $1,500 per head of cattle, and cattle rustling was up nearly 40 percent last year.  As you will read about below, cargo hijacking is becoming much more sophisticated, and it is being estimated that losses from cargo thefts will total about $216 million this year alone.  And for some reason, Tide laundry detergent has become a very hot commodity among common criminals all across America.  In fact, it is being reported that some grocery stores are "losing $10,000 to $15,000 a month" as a result of Tide thefts. 

So why is all of this happening?  Well, as I have written about previously, crime is on the rise in the United States, and poverty is absolutely exploding.  In fact, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program each month.  Over the past five years, we have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of people that cannot take care of themselves without help from the government.  Millions upon millions of Americans that have been forced into poverty are becoming increasingly angry, frustrated and desperate.  And what we are watching right now is only just the beginning - all of this is going to get a whole lot worse.

When people think of the "social decay" that is happening to America, most of the time Texas and Oklahoma would not be the first places that come to mind.  But according to NPR, there was nearly a 40 percent rise in the theft of cows and horses down in that area of the country last year...

Ranchers saw a sharp jump in cattle rustling last year in Texas and Oklahoma. Over 10,000 cows and horses were reported missing or stolen. That’s an almost 40 percent increase from the year before. It’s a trend that’s surprised some in law enforcement.

And this is happening even though the penalties for cattle rustling have gotten much stronger...

Penalties against rustlers were toughened by Texas lawmakers in 2009. Now, the crime could put you in prison for up to 10 years. But ironically more and more cattle have gone missing or stolen since that law was passed.

Another trend that is baffling law enforcement authorities is the huge wave of cargo hijackings that they have been seeing.  According to a recent CBS News article, cargo thefts are becoming a lot more elaborate these days...

To steal huge shipments of valuable cargo, thieves are turning to a deceptively simple tactic: They pose as truckers, load the freight onto their own tractor-trailers and drive away with it.


It’s an increasingly common form of commercial identity theft that has allowed con men to make off each year with millions of dollars in merchandise, often food and beverages. And experts say the practice is growing so rapidly that it will soon become the most common way to steal freight.

You may not think that stealing truckloads of walnuts or cheese is a big deal, but the truth is that the dollar values of some of these thefts are absolutely staggering...

News reports from across the country recount just a few of the thefts: 80,000 pounds of walnuts worth $300,000 in California, $200,000 of Muenster cheese in Wisconsin, rib-eye steaks valued at $82,000 in Texas, $25,000 pounds of king crab worth $400,000 in California.

And this is not just happening in a few isolated locations.  We are literally seeing an epidemic of cargo theft that stretches from coast to coast...

Although cargo thieves prey on companies across the nation, the hot spots are places with shipping ports or rail hubs. California leads the nation. Large numbers of thefts have also been reported in Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Perhaps most fascinating of all is the wave of Tide thefts that is sweeping the nation.  The following is an excerpt from a New York Magazine article from earlier this year...

The call that came in from a local Safeway one day in March 2011 was unlike any the Organized Retail Crime Unit of the Prince George’s County Police Department had fielded before. The grocery store, located in suburban Bowie, Maryland, had been robbed repeatedly. But in every incident the only products taken were bottles—many, many bottles—of the liquid laundry detergent Tide. “They were losing $10,000 to $15,000 a month, with people just taking it off the shelves,” recalls Sergeant Aubrey Thompson, who heads the team. When Thompson and his officers arrived to investigate, they stumbled onto another apparent Tide theft in progress and busted two men who’d piled 100 or so of the bright-orange jugs into their Honda. The next day, Thompson returned to the store’s parking lot to tape a television interview about the crimes. A different robber took advantage of the distraction to make off with twenty more bottles.

So why are criminals so interested in Tide detergent?

Well, apparently it is heavily used as currency in the drug trade...

Southern California authorities say it’s a dirty business and a bizarre trend – drug users trading Tide detergent for crack.


The Riverside Press-Enterprise says it’s a nationwide problem – people are stealing the popular but expensive detergent and trading it for marijuana and crack cocaine.


San Bernardino police Sgt. Travis Walker says detectives raiding dope houses in recent years were puzzled when they found lots of Tide. Turns out it wasn’t being used to make drugs but to buy them.

We live at a time when an increasing number of Americans will do just about anything for money.

Down in Florida, one mother was so desperate for money that she was actually prostituting her three teenage daughters.  Two of them were under the age of 18...

A St. Cloud mother was picked up Thursday on charges of serving as her three teenage daughters' madam in a West U.S. Highway 192 prostitution ring, according to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.


At 2:30 p.m., Paula Howard flagged down an undercover detective acting as a "John" in front of a bus stop and arranged for him to have sex with one of her girls, ages 16, 17, and 18, an arrest record states.


The daughter agreed to perform the act for $20 and hopped into the car, telling the detective, "Oh yea. That's my family, but don't even worry about it. They know what I do," the report states.

But haven't you heard?

Everything is just fine in America.  Barack Obama and the mainstream media keep telling us that over and over, so it must be true.


I think that we got a glimpse into the true condition of America last month when a "technical glitch" caused the system that processes food stamp card payments to malfunction for a couple of hours.  A Time Magazine article described what happened at one Wal-Mart in Louisiana...

Customers cleared shelves and police were called in to control crowds taking advantage of suddenly unlimited spending allowed on their Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, which are issued to recipients of government food stamps. Spending limits on the cards were reportedly disabled for about two hours.


When a store in Springhill, La., announced over the loudspeaker that the glitch was fixed, shoppers simply abandoned loaded carts, according to Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd.

And similar "mini-riots" happened in a bunch of other locations as well.

For example, customers at one Wal-Mart in Mississippi just started taking groceries out of the store that they hadn't paid for when their food stamp cards were not accepted...

Customers staged a disturbance then walked out of a Mississippi Walmart store with groceries that hadn’t been paid for Saturday night after a computer glitch left them unable to use their food stamp cards.


People in 17 states found themselves unable to buy groceries with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards after a routine check by vendor Xerox Corp. resulted in a temporary system failure.


Shortly after the mini-riot, managers decided to temporarily close the store, citing customer safety.

Keep in mind that all of this was caused by a "technical glitch" that only lasted for a few hours.

What would happen if there was a problem that lasted for much longer?

That is a sobering thing to think about.

And as I wrote about recently, all 47 million Americans on food stamps just had their benefits reduced on November 1st.  This is causing food banks all across the country to brace for a huge influx of needy people...

Food banks across the country, stretched thin in the aftermath of the recession, are bracing for more people coming through their doors in the wake of cuts to the federal food stamp program.


Food stamp benefits to 47 million Americans were cut starting Friday as a temporary boost to the federal program comes to an end without new funding from a deadlocked Congress.


Under the program, known formally as the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program, or SNAP, a family of four that gets $668 per month in benefits will find that amount cut by $36.

In fact, the president of the Food Bank for New York City says that members of her organization "are panicking"...

As president of the Food Bank for New York City, Margaret Purvis expects those cuts will draw even more people to organizations that already provide 400,000 meals a day to hungry city folks.


"Our members are panicking," she said as time wound down before the benefit decreases go into effect. "We're telling everyone to make sure that you are prepared for longer lines."

Purvis also told Salon.com that "when people cannot afford to eat food" it has the potential to start "riots"...

“If you look across the world, riots always begin typically the same way: when people cannot afford to eat food,” Margarette Purvis, the president and CEO of the Food Bank for New York City, told Salon Monday. Purvis said that the looming cut would mean about 76 million meals “that will no longer be on the plates of the poorest families” in NYC alone – a figure that outstrips the total number of meals distributed each year by the Food Bank for New York City, the largest food bank in the country. “There will be an immediate impact,” she said.

So will we see riots as a result of these food stamp cuts?

No, I do not believe that we will see riots yet.

But the volcano of anger, frustration and desperation that is simmering just below the surface of this country continues to get hotter.

Someday it will explode.

What will you do when that happens?

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LetThemEatRand's picture

Ask Corzine.  Crime pays.  There is no Batman.  Just the Joker.

Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

47% of americans still believe obama is batman. until those people who harbor such idiotic beleifs wake up (never), crime will continue to pay.

Whatta's picture

Just a game of Follow The Leaders

Lie, cheat and steal, its the American way!!!

But the horse thieving thing is TX is misleading. You can't give a so-so horse away these days...literally. People are dumping them (and donkeys) off in the country the way they used to with cats and dogs.

mofreedom's picture

Rules for Radicals equals chaos.

They want it, we got it.

Damn them all to hell they will be, establishment replubicans included, that's right I said it, talkin about you McCain and Graham and Rove, but I will taste better than you cause I've been marinating in JACK.

JACK is an elixer to thwart all commie upancomupence (sp).

No retards!!!!


Future Jim's picture
Relief for Cynicism


8 oz tomato juice
1 tbsp Everclear  (add another tbsp if very cynical)
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp horseradish
1 tsp powedered sugar
1/2 tsp molasses
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Thai fish sauce
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp onion power
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp wasabi

OutLookingIn's picture




Thats how many meals away from - ANARCHY!

Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

speaking as a cynic, that drink looks like it takes way too fucking long to make. how about the first two ingredients and leave it at that. or replace the tomato juice with a needle and just start mainlining everclear.

Eeyores Enigma's picture

It really is as simple as this.

For everyone from the most destitute to the super wealthy.

No money = you die.

With this in mind is there ever enough?

Everyone knows there is no such thing as enough and for every tale of rags to riches there is a tale of riches to rags.

Until we change this simple little fact of life nothing will change and this heinous game of ultimate musical chairs to the death will go on and on becoming more and more ugly.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"establishment replubicans included,"

Don't forget Cruz whose wife is an executive at Goldman Sachs.  Don't let him baffle you with his bullshit.  

And Rand Paul.  Look up his donors.  Most are unrevealed corporate contributors.  It's no coincidence that he champions their causes.  But he talks a good game.

nmewn's picture

Has or has not, Cruz been proven absolutely correct, in trying to bring the sheeples attention to the fascism that is ObamaCare? Whether or not he was successful then is no matter now, their attention is certainly glued to this POS, the jack booted thuggery now, watching as their liberty, choice and labor evaporate.


And Rand Paul, who committed the other "egregious" fillibuster against the senate establishment. His was over the use of government drones killing American citizens, wasn't it?

Why don't you have a little faith and Hope for Change baby? It may come as shock to you but being anonymous, when fighting the all embracing, suffocating state on its own terms, can be a good thing.

Both of them are correct in their positions and you know it.

Let it go Rand, be what you want to be, not what you've always been.

carlin401's picture

AIPAC own's the PAID Ho's on both the LEFT, RIGHT, CENTER of the debate.

If its seen or TV, or electable in the USA, then it is 100% owned by AIPAC.

LetThemEatRand's picture

It's theater nmewn.  The words accomplished nothing other than getting guys like you to defend and vote for them as intended.  You are taking the bait.  

Obama had a great speech against raising the debt ceiling as a Senator.   If I defended him now because he grandstanded then, would you be convinced that he's really a good guy?  

Don't pay attention to what they say.  Pay attention to who funds their campaigns.  That will tell you what they will do when they have the power to do it.  

Future Jim's picture

Let's not forget that, for all practical purposes, the mainstream media funds Obama because they give him what must be worth billions of dollars in media bias. In fact, money could not buy that kind of support. They make personal sacrifices, hide evidence, fabricate evidence, and attack his opponents. Obama can just be the blank canvas onto which they paint the Myth of Obama while they do all of his dirty work. No amount of big donors could overcome that kind of cronyism.

Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are on the opposite side of that bias. The media have a pathological hatred of them. We must adjust our perspective accordingly.

Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

what other choice does rand have? he needs the money to play the game. his dad, my personal hero, did a tremendous job getting the ball rolling. everything the good doctor did had a great effect outside of washington, but very little effect inside. rand has to get sufficient campaign contributions to stay in office and fight the good fight. so really the question is, what other choice do we have? we can either wait until the oh shit moment, preparing accordingly as we wait, or we can put (some) of our hope in the one or two politicians who are still voicing our beliefs and seemingly fighting the mafia that is our political and financial system. cynicism is a good trait until we take it too far. we need to be optimistic that there is a brighter tomorrow, and if that means putting potentially misplaced trust in a couple people who seem to be on our team, then so be it.

Henry Hub's picture

The great man of the people, the darling of the Tea Party is, wait for it, Ted Cruz?? Elitist Harvard graduate with a wife who is in senior management a Goldman Sacks. Too funny! It shows how easily these Tea Party buffoons are manipulated and deceived.

Tulpa's picture

"And Rand Paul.  Look up his donors.  Most are unrevealed corporate contributors.  It's no coincidence that he champions their causes."

He champions their causes?  Such as what?  The best friend of big business is big government.  Much better to have oppressive regulation that you can trust your legal department to deal with, than having to navigate a free market and compete against upstarts on a level playing field.

starfcker's picture

nobody seems to be totally clean. everyone seems to have a tentacle in their business one way or the other. but the house continues to show some separation from 'the party'(d/r).  worth watching. i continue to fascinated with the take no prisoners, one option, ends will justify the means urgency of the whole globalization project. the snakeheads running this thing are amazingly nimble, and completely deaf to any constraint.  sure there is plenty of greed and disregard for law and decency, but we all thought europe would have crashed and burned by now. still standing, somehow. don't underestimate, the gold team has some smart fuckers calling the shots.

GeezerGeek's picture

Horsemeat is a delicacy in some parts of Dade County, Fla. Coming soon to a fast food restaurant near you, until supplies run out.

Carl Popper's picture

Horse steak is excellent. Not the 15 year old sickly abandoned horse, but the 3 year old horse raised as meat. Germans and eastern europeans still like their horse medium

CvlDobd's picture

"I slaughtered this horse last Tuesday. I'm 'fraid she's starting to turn."

The Big Ching-aso's picture

How could anyone in the U.S. eat Mr. Ed unless they were starving, on food stamps, out of work, homeless and destitute?   Oh, wait.

RiverRoad's picture

10 years?  Hell, they used to HANG horse thieves.

Sizzurp's picture

The thieves are just following the new immoral standards set by our stealing immoral government.  I mean what is wealth redistribution if not theft?  I expect the crime to get a lot worse.  This is a trend that has legs.  Just wait till some of the Mexican traditions, like kidnapping, make it up here north of the border.

willwork4food's picture

Corzine most likely will try a run for president in '16. Nothing would suprise me now.

AllWorkedUp's picture

Can't believe anyone downvoted you. Must be the libtards that have infiltrated ZH.

wee-weed up's picture



Yep, the "junk & run" Lib cockroaches are infesting the site!

Tyler... are you listening?

wee-weed up's picture



Obama lied - healthcare died!

Democrats lied - healthcare died!

Spread the word!

wee-weed up's picture




Yep, the "junk & run" Lib cockroaches are infesting the site!

Disenchanted's picture

I find libtards and conservatards equally amusing...and useless.

rubiconsolutions's picture

Thievery has been going on for a long time in this country. Read up on Ida May Fuller and you'll see that "the greatest generation" has been doing it for years.

Colonel Klink's picture

Free Jon Corzine!  Obama should pardon him!!

Running On Bingo Fuel's picture

Monkey see, monkey do.

Banks get away with it, as does .gov. $1 trillion 'lost' by our friends at the pentagon.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

1. Our culture literally worships the god of money (Mammon), in spite of lip-service to their 'official' deity ('God').

2. Corporate Governance has gone to Hell, exec compensation plans have changed drastically (tied to stock price) and it's a free-for-all:  "Drive up stock prices" above all things, doing whatever it takes.  "Do what thou will" is the Luciferian commandment.

3. The "Checks & Balances" have been gradually and systematically removed since 1980, and been repackaged and promoted/sold as "Deregulation".

kralizec's picture

Since 1980?!  You must be terribly young/misinformed!  Been going on a long damn time!!!  Try the rise of the progressive movement (TR!) and the nefarious Wilson and the BS that spawned in 1913!!!

Crash Overide's picture

"Why Is An Epidemic Of Thievery Sweeping America?"

1. People are fucking broke.

2. When you are hungry all bets are off.

3. Our government leads by example so why not...

PT's picture

Land is over-priced.  There are no jobs and therefore not even any hope of acquiring land.  If you can't grow your own food, then you gotta get it from somewhere.

Reptil's picture

The fish rots from the head.

(edit: I see I'm not the first to say that ;-))

tabasco71's picture

London, UK is not much better... if it isn't nailed down these days, its gone.  As for owning a motorcycle these days, forget it - it's just an insurance claim waiting to happen!

Nothing but the truth.'s picture

This article encapsulates the actions of the Fed and the moneymasters.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

It is hard now to tell the welfare cheat that their breaking the rules is bad when Jamie Dimon's is being given billions....

When rules are not followed, there are no rules.

A Lunatic's picture

I guess you could justify almost anything with that defense........

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Works especially well for financial crimes, apparently

auntiesocial's picture

one of my friends owns a smokeshop and it has been broken into a few times. we watch the video feed of the actual break in and it is really phuckin' creepy. they pull up in their car. noncholantly walk up to the building and smash a large rock through a small window and just take whatever they want. and... they are not in a hurry. the alarm is loud enough to wake the dead, and they are just takin' their sweet time and not running or making fast movements... like they know they have ample time anyway, to stay on point, crime will get worse and theives evermore brazen. and it is not just limited to the dirt poor. we are in for quite a ride with no end in site.

TBT or not TBT's picture

A fish may rot from the head, but America apparently rots from Chicago down.    The head of the executive branch sets the example.