In Brief

Hawaii shops lock up Spam following meat heists

Tins are stolen from island shops and traded for cash or drugs

Hawaii is in the midst of a Spam crime wave, forcing shops to keep the tinned meat locked away.

Ra Long, a Honolulu shop owner, told Hawaii News Now that shoplifters typically target alcohol but lately it’s Spam that’s been disappearing. “I mean you try to keep an eye on it, but if they run, you just can’t leave the counter and chase them,” Long said. “So you just got to take the hit.”

Things are so bad in Honolulu that one shop has a sign above a locked case of Spam that reads: “Items electronically monitored for theft.”

Kimo Carvalho, a spokesman for the Institute for Human Services in Hawaii, said people are stealing Spam because it’s easy to sell. “It’s quick cash for quick drug money.”

Honolulu police are offering a $1,000 (£760) reward for a man who allegedly grabbed a can of spam, then punched a security guard who tried to stop him, The Epoch Times says. In September, three women unsuccessfullly tried to steal 18 cases of spam at a one-stop shop, eyewitness Kurt Fevella told KITV.

“It’s crazy. Just crazy. We have to keep corned beef up front at the customer service counter because people steal cases of corned beef. And they also steal Spam,” said Darlene Kauhi, manager of Tamura’s Market in the town of Hau’ula.

The processed meat, which turned 80 this year, is a mixture of pork shoulder, ham, sugar and salt, Sky News says. In 1970, the two-billionth can of Spam was produced. That same year it made its TV debut in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Hawaiians eat 7m cans of Spam annually – the highest consumption in the US. It’s also served in restaurants, including a McDonald’s with Spam on the breakfast menu, ABC reports.

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