18 Most Stolen Items in the U.S. – What You Need to Know

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By Darryl Henderson

With the cost of everyday items rapidly increasing, thefts will inevitably follow, with some items higher up on the priority lists of thieves than others. Here are 18 of the most commonly stolen items in the U.S.

Money

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We’ll start with the obvious, as money has and will always be the most coveted item by thieves. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to steal, thanks to cash becoming less and less important. However, it’s always worth being vigilant when withdrawing cash at an ATM.

Cell Phones

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As cell phones tend to hold their value and are easy to sell secondhand, they have become a high-priority target for pickpockets on busy streets. According to CNBC, around 113 smartphones go missing every minute in the US, which is the equivalent of 30 million a year.

Watches

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Watches are seen as the holy grail for burglars, as they are an ever-appreciating asset and can often fetch a few thousand dollars when resold. It’s always worth keeping expensive watches in a safe when they are not being worn.

Cars

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Keyless entry hackers have added an extra layer of threat to automobile owners across the USA, who are having to find new ways of protecting their cars from being stolen. Thefts are on the rise once more, with over one million cars stolen in 2023, according to Newsweek.

Car Parts

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As well as stealing cars themselves, thieves are constantly on the lookout for car parts, such as catalytic converters, which contain precious metals that fetch a decent price when resold. For those with garage space, it’s always recommended that you lock the car away overnight.

Clothes

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Designer clothes and accessories will always be attractive to thieves and burglars as they are easy to spot and easy to sell once acquired. These items can range from handbags to jackets to shoes, all of which are in demand on resale sites.

Cheese

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Out of all the dairy products, cheese is most at risk of being stolen. Large scale cheese thefts have taken place in the USA and across the world. According to The Guardian, $46,000 worth of cheese was stolen in the infamous Wisconsin cheese heist of 2016.

Bicycles

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A shortage in bicycles compared to demand, as well as the fact they hold their value well, has meant that any bike left out in the open is vulnerable to being stolen. There’s also the fact that thieves can silently make their move and cycle off into the distance, making it an easy crime to commit.

Fragrances

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As they are seen as luxury items, sold behind cabinets in stores for elevated prices, fragrances are high up on a thief’s wish list. There is a lot of market demand for fragrances, meaning they can be sold quickly once acquired.

Alcohol

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Alcoholic beverages such as wine and spirits have been a mainstay on the USA’s most stolen items lists for decades. One such case study involved a group of thieves stealing from a distillery in Florida in July 2023, making off with $1.6 million worth of alcohol, according to CNN.

Makeup

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One of the hardest items to prevent theft of is makeup, which is not only in serious demand but small and easy to hide in pockets. The price of makeup is rising year on year, which has made it easy for thieves to sell for reduced prices on internet marketplaces.

Swimwear

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Unlike most clothing items, swimwear is generally smaller and easier to sneak out of stores. It is easy to monitor for smaller stores, but for large retailers with huge stock levels, keeping tabs on all of their swimwear pieces is almost impossible.

Sunglasses

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The price of sunglasses has risen exponentially over the last decade, with many pairs from big brands exceeding the $100 mark. This makes them a high-priority target for thieves.

Razor Blades

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Supermarkets have stepped up their security in recent times in an attempt to prevent the theft of razor blades. Most shops will sell them from behind a glass case, as they have a high price density. In other words, they are small but expensive.

Power Tools

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Not many people will use their power tools all that frequently, meaning it could take months before the victim realizes that they have been stolen. They also tend to be kept in garden sheds, many of which don’t have adequate locking systems.

Baby Formula

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Rising prices on everyday items such as baby formula has led to desperation among many mothers with low income. This has rocketed up the number of baby formula thefts across the USA and worldwide, leading to increased security on the items in supermarkets.

Meat

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There is an ever-present clamor for meat in the United States, with some suppliers not able to meet the demand. This means that good quality meat has a high resale value, with thieves simply stealing supermarket meat, repackaging it, and selling it on for instant profit.

Hair

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One of the more unlikely and frequently stolen items in the USA is hair extensions, with many salons choosing to lock up their pieces overnight. Extensions made from real human hair have become big business on the streets, with many thieves selling them for extortionate amounts.