Thieves in Brazil hijacked a train in a rural portion of the country and stole 55 tons of corn last week, according to various media reports.
Large-scale train robberies are few in the U.S., but when it happens, the thieves are targeting money, electronic equipment or other high value goods.
This shows that thieves in other countries consider commodity grains the equivalent of gold in being hard-to-trace loot. Smaller-scale grain robberies occur daily around the world, especially in developing countries, but this theft appears to have been highly organized with large-scale equipment and many vehicles.
Reportedly the train engines were pulling 54 container cars when they hit greased tracks, which stopped the train, and the containers of corn were removed with a hook and hoist truck and carted away.
The theft occurred in the state of Sao Paulo, which the U.S. ag industry hears about whenever grain production in Brazil is discussed. Corn and sugar on the train were being hauled to the port at Santos.
A couple years ago the description of rural Brazil was a country equivalent to the “Wild West” of the U.S. in the 1800s. This theft reinforces that the description might still hold true.