10 Surprising Theft Statistics That May Catch You Off Guard

Tired of hearing about common theft statistics? You might, as these numbers often don’t surprise us anymore. We expect to hear that a huge number of cars are stolen on a yearly basis, and we wouldn’t bat our eyelids if we heard that a huge number of smartphones got stolen in one year—we do expect that.

However, there are certain theft statistics that might be beyond our imagination. We don’t see them coming, and no matter how often we are confronted with theft statistics, we don’t seem to be able to wrap our minds around them. These are ten theft statistics that will surprise you:

10 $75 Million Worth of Cooking Oil Is Stolen Every Year

The arrest of a man who pumped hundreds of gallons of used cooking oil from a dumpster outside Burger King in the Allendale Shopping Center in Virginia might look like odd news, but in reality, this is a regular crime. It is estimated that $75 million worth of cooking oil is stolen every year. This is because of an upsurge in the demand for biofuel, as laws and regulations now favor an increase in the use of biofuel for consumption. The Virginia suspect made 25 cents per gallon of used cooking oil, which amounted to $300 to $400 per stealing trip.[1]

9 One Million Parking Cones Are Stolen Every Year

Parking cones are familiar objects to drivers. You see these cones on the side of the road when there is ongoing road construction, road repair, or an accident. The first version of the popular traffic cone was created by an American, Charles D. Scanlon. He was a street painter employed by the city of Los Angeles. He discovered that the traditional wooden tripod road markers and barriers needed constant repair and repainting due to constant contact with passing vehicles. This prompted him to create a rubber cone. The rubber cone is widely in use today.

In the United States, approximately one million traffic cones are stolen every year. In the United Kingdom, police departments occasionally hold “Cone Amnesties,” giving their citizens the chance to return “borrowed” traffic cones.[2]

8 Up to 600,000 Guns Are Stolen Every Year in America

Firearm trafficking is a challenge in the United States because such firearms are used in crimes, which fuels the country’s gun violence epidemic. Privately owned firearms are stolen in the United States at an alarming frequency. It is believed that between 300,000 and 600,000 guns are stolen yearly, which translates to at least one gun being stolen every minute if the figure is at the highest end. As states increase the number of people who are able to carry a gun, so too does the number of thieves who are willing to steal these guns.[3]

7 One in Four American Adults Were Victims of Identity Theft in 2021

Identity theft is prevalent because of the continuous advancement of the Internet of Things. In the early 2000s, many Americans were content with using their laptops and phones to surf the internet. Today, people are too lazy to do that. You can summon your Amazon Echo to go online and look for major news headlines or give you an hourly weather report. This advancement has greatly increased the possibilities of identity theft. However, the sheer number of victims of identity theft in the year 2021 left us totally baffled—one out of four.

This number included loan application fraud. Not only is the number of victims in 2021 high, but the average loss per victim also increased from $201 to $1,551, with victims spending an average of nine hours before being able to resolve their identity theft issues. In the global sense, Americans lead the pack, suffering identity theft at twice the global average. One of the highlights of the survey that discovered the scale of identity fraud in the United States in the year 2021 is that the average American had poor habits relating to security. For instance, many Americans who undertook the survey did not have password-protected Wi-Fi at home.[4]

6 Porch Pirates Stole 260 Million Packages in One Year

In the United States, you may not be the only one eager for your packages to arrive. As you await your package, so also do porch pirates. Porch pirates are thieves who take parcels from your front door. It is difficult to believe that a total of 260 million packages were stolen from porch piracy in a single year. In the post-COVID-19 era, e-commerce companies and customers alike have opted for increased online transactions as this reduces the need for in-store visits that could create the opportunity to spread pathogens. Sadly, the growth in online shopping has also increased the incidence of package theft. The year 2022 saw an increase of 25% in porch piracy, which amounted to 260 million stolen packages in one year.[5]

5 More Than Two Million Bikes Were Stolen in America in 2019

Bikes are portable and light. This has made it easy for bike criminals to operate. Moreover, it is easy to break bike locks without drawing suspicion, so bike criminals usually have a field day. While two million bikes were stolen in North America in 2019, 700,000 bicycles were stolen in the Netherlands in two years. In the same year that North America witnessed the theft of two million bikes, the United Kingdom had 125,136 reports of stolen bikes. The implication of the bizarre bike theft statistics from North America in 2019 is that one bike was stolen every 30 seconds that year. In the next year, approximately 215 bikes were stolen on a daily basis in the UK between April and August.[6]

4 The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist

Maple syrup is a syrup made from the sap of maple trees. But do not be deceived by the sweet name; maple syrup is still a valuable commodity. The Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist was carried out between 2011 and 2012 when nearly 3,300 tons (3,000 metric tonnes) of maple syrup valued at $18 million was stolen from a storage facility in Quebec, Canada. The syrup was stored in unmarked white metal barrels that were only inspected once a year.

Thieves used trucks to transport the barrels containing the syrup to a remote sugar shack where they siphoned off the maple syrup, refilled the barrel with water, and returned them to the facility. The storage facility was operated by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which is responsible for 77% of the global maple syrup supply.[7]

3 Two Million Dogs Are Stolen Every Year in the U.S.

Dogs, although domesticated animals, can be very dangerous. This is why we have guard dogs—dogs trained to protect lives and properties that can harm or kill anyone who threatens those they protect. This being a fact, it amazes us that some people still have the guts to steal dogs as their form of “profession.” In fact, two million dogs are stolen every year in the United States.

Rare breeds and highly valued puppies can be sold to unreputable dealers, medical testing centers, and innocent citizens who may not be aware of where the dogs came from. The worst-case scenario is that some of these dogs may end up at illegal dog-fighting clubs where they are forced to fight in sadistic contests. In case you don’t know, one-third of all dogs and cats in the United States go missing, and more than 80% of missing pets are never found.[8]

2 Up to 25 Million Milk Crates Are Stolen Every Year

Milk crates are square or rectangular interlocking boxes used to transport milk and other products from dairies to retail establishments. Numerous “innocent” people are guilty of milk crate theft. We often see milk crates in basements, garages, and backyards. People use milk crates to organize their junk. When milk crates are stolen to be put to other uses aside from shipping milk, the price of milk increases because dairy farmers need to replace the milk crates in order to continue doing business.

The bad news here is that up to 25 million milk crates are stolen every year. This theft could translate to $100 million in losses. Stores are meant to return milk crates to be reused, but that doesn’t get to happen nearly as often as it should. Investigations into milk crate theft have fingered unreputable plastic re-processors who grind the milk crates into chips to be resold on the black market.[9]

1 75% of Employees Have Stolen from Their Place of Work

We’ve all seen new stories or movies about someone embezzling huge sums of money from their employer, so that’s pretty easy to digest. But what might be more difficult for us to accept is that up to 75% of employees have stolen from their place of work at least once. We didn’t make up this statistic; we got it from a reputable source—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber also found out that 30% of business failures may be a result of employee fraud and abuse. This translates to three out of ten businesses folding up because employees who receive salaries stole them silly. Aside from stealing and converting funds, employees also sometimes steal insignificant things. In one survey, one in ten employees admitted that they have stolen toilet paper from their place of work at least once, while 80% admitted that they have stolen pens.[10]


Written by Jeffrey Morris

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