A Dutch criminal gang made off with more than 3,500 pounds of cheese, prompting warnings for other dairy farms to be on alert.
The robbery took place at Torenpolderkaas dairy farm in Noord Brabant, Netherlands last week, with the farm losing out on an estimate $23,000 when the 'well-organised' group of cheese thieves broke in and made of with a bus full of product.
It might seem like a bizarre target for an organised crime gang, but while rare, the risk of cheese robberies is apparently so great that Dutch dairy farmers live in fear of becoming victims themselves.
"We are a bit afraid of this. They don't shy away from entering a cheese farm with brute force. In no time they fill their bus and leave," said Theo Dekker, chairman of the Dutch Association of Farm Dairy Preparers.
"It is of course never pleasant to have burglars in your yard. We know all too well how much craft is involved in the cheeses."
Dekker said that cheeses can be attractive loot for gangs because of its value, and tends to be transported to other countries – especially those in Eastern Europe and Russia – where it can be sold at a cut price.
In this incident, Dekker claimed that the group had 'already explored the farm shop a few days before so that they know exactly what to pack', before carrying out their heist.
The recent theft took place following 'a few quiet years' for dairy farmers in the Netherlands, however Dekker noted that past cheese thefts have led to measures being put in place to track products, including unique codes that are pressed into the rind and cannot be removed without damaging the cheese.
"As a result, the thieves cannot sell the entire cheese in the Netherlands," he said, before admitting that 'if you cut off a piece, you can no longer see where the cheese comes from'.
In the wake of the recent heist, Dekker warned other dairy farms to remain vigilant against similar attacks, urging businesses to set up CCTV systems and to take out insurance on their products to protect against any losses should their cheeses go missing.
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