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The Most Commonly Stolen Things in America

July 9, 2018

Billions of dollars’ worth of stuff is swiped from stores, other businesses, and individuals every year. Here’s what thieves grab the most.

Commonly swiped

According to the annual National Retail Security Survey, which polled more than 80 retailers in 2016 (the last year for which data is available), the most commonly swiped items from grocery and drugstores are some of the most expensive things you’d find in those stores: meat, razors, baby formula, cosmetics, and alcohol.


However, a larger, worldwide survey of 250,000 chain stores conducted by the Center for Retail Research in the United Kingdom, discovered that the most widely stolen item from stores across the globe is cheese. Nearly 5 percent of all cheese placed on store shelves is reportedly ultimately shoplifted.

Car theft

The National Insurance Crime Bureau monitors car thefts in the United States. According to that agency, the most commonly stolen car in America is the 1997 Honda Accord. Second-most commonly stolen car in America: the 1998 Honda Accord. (Those two account for most of the 100,000 or so Accords stolen in 2016.)

Hotel theft

Not counting all those miniature soaps and bottles of shampoo and conditioner—which they kind of expect you to take home—hotels say the items people make off with more than anything else aren’t the bathrobes. They take silverware from the room service tray, sheets off the bed, and even the batteries out of the TV remote control.

At the office

In a survey conducted by the now-defunct office supply chain Office Max, the item employees take more than any other: pens and highlighters. 82 percent of respondents owned up to grabbing at least one writing utensil from their workplace.


While hospitals have to deal with patients walking away with bed linens and towels (ew!), the one item that disappears the most are scrubs…which employees such as nurses and doctors simply take home and never return.

Home burglers

According to home security experts, when a burglar breaks into a home, they’re looking to get in and out quickly, of course, and so they historically tend to go for the same items: cash, jewelry, prescription drugs, and small electronics like phones, cameras, and laptops.

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