The theft of £14,000's worth of the popular spread at the weekend is the most recent in a series of worldwide raids by thieves with a taste for fast food.
There's something seriously afoot in the small town of Bad Hersfeld, in central Germany. Thieves made off with five tonnes of Nutella over the weekend. According to some fag-packet calculations, that's 6,875 large jars - or 27m calories - of the chocolate and hazelnut spread, thought to be worth about £13,600. Imagine two medium-sized elephants made of Nutella and that's roughly what we are dealing with. Neither the spread nor the brigands have been seen since the robbery from a parked trailer last weekend.
This sticky-fingered heist comes less than a fortnight after a coffee raid worth £25,000 had hit the spa town; a truckload of Red Bull disappeared there last August. Police have yet to confirm they are pursuing the theory that these offences have all been committed by the same insomniac. Some sort of rave-cum-breakfast-bonanza may also be under investigation.
A more plausible proposition is that, due to its expense and indisputable deliciousness, there might be a black market for Nutella. As food prices rise, it seems inevitable that large-scale food theft is going to become more of a problem. Two years ago, the New York Times reported the robbery of six tractor-trailer loads of tomatoes, cucumbers and frozen meat worth roughly $300,000 (£195,000). In that same year, the FBI identified no fewer than nine meat- and cheese-truck heists.
Indeed, cheese is apparently the most popular quarry among the gastro-gangsters. A few years ago, thieves in New Zealand broke on to a train in what one can only imagine was a dramatic and high-octane fashion, and stole 20kg of cheddar. Some weeks previously, a rather more brazen Bristolian had tried, and failed, to smuggle six blocks of cheese out of Aldi. And who can forget Antony Worrall Thompson's own doomed version of Supermarket Sweep?
In Quebec, the world's largest producer of maple syrup, an inside job at a factory led to the staggered and staggering theft of $18m's worth of the pancake nectar. The perpetrators were caught late last year. Some months previously, two truckloads of walnuts went missing somewhere between California and Florida.
And it seems the irreproachable treat that is Nutella has also been at the centre of a smaller-scale spate of larceny at Columbia University, New York, where the college's spokesmen were recently forced to deny reports that students were "spiriting away" $5,000's worth of the spread every week. It brings back shameful memories of a chubby, 11-year-old me, pilfering a spoonful or three from a schoolmate's prized jar. I was caught and humiliated for the crime and, at the risk of contributing to what has turned into quite a PR coup for Ferrero, I must admit, it does seem to be rather a nickable spread.
I haven't personally bought a jar since I married it with Pringles to test some frightening recipes from Guardian readers and my own days of food theft are well behind me, but it's still a common problem, from student kitchens to office fridges, no matter how large the warning on the jar of pasta sauce, or how sincere the threats of violence scrawled on the box of cereal. Shadow care minister Liz Kendall made the news in November when a colleague pilfered her tuna salad. A sticky note was stuck to her own relatively polite notice saying: "I took it ... and I'd do it again."
This little exchange suggests that, for the seasoned fridge thief, ignoring the passive aggressive notes left on sandwiches and salads is part of the thrill. Imagine the horror, then, on discovering that the brownies you've been snarfing have been spiked with marijuana. Ah, sweetest revenge. Even more poetic is this Texan police officer, charged with theft and suspended for 30 days for helping himself to the contents of the station's fridge.
Have you been a victim, or a perpetrator of food crime?
A lovely slice of bread with some Nutella on top - but would you want five tonnes of the stuff? Photograph: Creativ Studio Heinemann/WestEnd61/Rex Features