Thieves Target Cans of Spam at Hawaii Stores - NBC Southern California

Thieves Target Cans of Spam at Hawaii Stores

A spokesman for the Institute for Human Services says the cans can be sold for "quick cash for quick drug money."



    Thieves Target Cans of Spam at Hawaii Stores
    Getty Images
    FILE - SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29: Spam, the often-maligned classic canned lunch meat made by Hormel Foods, is seen on a grocery store shelf May 29, 2008 in Sierra Madre, California. With the rise in food prices, sales of Spam are increasing as consumers look for ways to cut their food bills. According to the US Agriculture Department, the price of food is rising at the fastest rate since 1990. Increasingly expensive staples include such items as white bread, up 13 percent over last year, butter, up nine percent, and bacon at seven percent. The increasing sales have translated to 14 percent higher profits for Hormel. Spam was created in 1937 and was popularized as a staple food for World War II Western allied forces. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Cans of Spam have become a common item that's being stolen from Honolulu stores and then sold on the streets for quick cash, according to authorities.

    Ra Long, who owns a convenience store in the city, said shoplifters have typically targeted alcohol in the past, but recently more cans of Spam have gone missing, Hawaii News Now reported.

    "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."

    Honolulu police said they took a report of a man lifting a case of the canned meat from a store earlier this month.

    Kimo Carvalho, a spokesman for the Institute for Human Services, said people are stealing Spam because it's easy to sell. "It's quick cash for quick drug money," Carvalho said.

    Hawaiians eat millions of cans of Spam a year, the nation's highest per-capita consumption of the processed meat, which is cobbled together from a mixture of pork shoulder, ham, sugar and salt.

    The state's love affair with Spam began during World War II, when rationing created just the right conditions for the rise of a meat that needs no refrigeration and has a remarkably long shelf life (indefinitely, the company says).

    Ann Kondo Corum, who grew up in Hawaii in the 1950s and has written several Spam-inspired cookbooks, has attributed Spam's popularity partly to Hawaii's large Asian population. "Asians eat a lot of rice. Spam is salty, and it goes well with rice," she told The Associated Press in 2009.

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