GRAND ISLAND, NE – As the price of beef in grocery stores continues to rise, it becomes a ‘hot’ commodity. In more ways than one.
Three semi-trailers full of meat products were stolen recently in Grand Island. The thefts may be part of a nationwide trend.
Grand Island Police Captain Jim Duering told KSNB Local4 in Hastings that he thinks it was not a one-person heist. “Most likely it was a minimum of two people or more and then on top of that we have similar thefts of meat products in other areas such as Colfax County and Omaha over the past several weeks that are probably related.”
Two stolen semi-tractors were used to steal three semi-trailers full of meat. The tractors and trailers were reported stolen from Midwest Express on east Highway 30 and another location at 1515 East Fourth Street, according to a report from the Grand Island Police.
“I think they went around to look for reefer units that were running. The fact that they were all loaded with beef may imply that they had done some level of surveillance,” Duering said.
The Nebraska State Patrol found the two tractors and two of the trailers outside Grand Island city limits. The trailers were empty. One of the tractors was found Sunday in Lancaster County. The third trailer, which reportedly contains $232,666 worth of beef from JBS Swift, is still missing.
Duering told KSNB Local4 that he thinks it may have been the same crew who made two trips and took the meat into two different locations. “At some point you can’t unload 160,000 pounds of meat without having another truck available. If those were stolen or not, we don’t know.”
There is a similarity between this theft and others reported recently in Schuyler and Omaha. Police believe it may be related to a nationwide pattern of bulk meat thefts.
“The first tractor and trailer that was taken had a little over $232,000 worth of meat. If you look at the cost of beef right now it can be anywhere between $200,000 to $1 million depending on what meat cut was on board at the time.”
Drivers are urged to keep rigs and trailers secure until the next scheduled hauler arrives.
The public is also being asked to report any information about stolen trucks and trailers to the Grand Island Police Department.