Dutch crime wave sees 8,500 kilos of cheese stolen

cheese market Alkmaar
Alkmaar Cheese Market on April 9, 2004 (photo: de:Benutzer:Yoshi / Wikimedia). (Alkmaar Cheese Market on April 9, 2004 (photo: de:Benutzer:Yoshi / Wikimedia))

Criminals in the Netherlands made off with about 8,500 kilograms of cheese in nine different incidents last year. Remarkably, in at least one instance, the cheese was stolen with a great deal of care and love, newspaper NRC reported.

The cheese may possibly have wound up on the Russian market, thinks Irene van de Voort of the Dairy Farmers and Producers Association. Cheese has become a rare treat in Russia ever since the EU sanctioned the nation and Russia responded with boycotts of European products, she said.

“It is a scarce commodity, and that drives the price up. It would explain why suddenly so much was stolen,” she told the NRC.

Farmers speculate that Eastern Europeans are to blame, but have no concrete evidence proving it. Ivonne Noordam, of the Noordam dairy farm, was robbed on October 1 two years in a row. “Exactly when the seasonal workers return to Eastern Europe.

In one of the cases, thieves made off with approximately 1,500 kilos from the De Zuidgeest cheese farm in Bergen op Zoom, Noord-Brabant. That figure was later revised up to about 2,000 kilos at a retail value of 18 thousand euros, De Zuidgeest’s Marjo Huijsmans told the newspaper.

They used a wheelbarrow to take the large wheels of cheese from the farm to cars waiting nearby. This was done “so that the cheese would not become dirty,” Huijsmans said. The robbers had even covered their shoes to keep the farm’s storefront floor clean.

Security was boosted at the facility, and Huijsmans is still in discussions with the insurance agency. A few months earlier, two other cheese farms in Noord-Brabant were looted.

One farm in Genderen, Noord-Brabant lost 25 thousand euros worth of cheese. The owner of the farm told the newspaper that four "Eastern Block types" could be seen on the security camera footage during the theft.

Meanwhile, Huijsmans hopes to have aged cheese back in stock soon. She says it will take about two more months for the cheese to hit store shelves.