Thieves made off with 184 cases of crab clusters from the back of a tractor trailer in North Philadelphia early Wednesday morning, officials say. An investigation is currently underway into the crab heist, which is said to be valued at $73,000.
According to Fox 29 Philly, police arrived at the 1800 block of Germantown Avenue around 1:45 a.m. to be met with several vehicles fleeing from the open tractor-trailer.
Officers discovered the driver asleep in the front, who—when woken and informed that his trailer had been broken into—told police that he didn’t hear or see or hear anything. He also claimed that the shipping container had been locked with a metal seal and padlock.
Given that several vehicles were reportedly involved, it seems unlikely that the crime was a spur-of-the-moment robbery, and that it may have been a coordinated effort among the thieves. It’s also unclear what type of crab clusters were involved in the heist, as prices can vary and the cost of snow crab has declined this year.
However, the cost of Chesapeake blue crabs has been trending up amid strong demand and dwindling populations, even as the crustacean are thriving in other parts of the world. In Italy, locals are learning to cook and eat the invasive species, which migrated to the Mediterranean—likely in the ballast water from cargo ships—and has no natural predators in the area.
In either case, the haul should make for one heck of a seafood boil, particularly in the unseasonably warm weather the Mid-Atlantic is currently experiencing. That is, if authorities don’t track down the culprits first.