Trish Perry

The author of Sunset Beach (2009) and Beach Dreams (2008), Trish Perry lives in Northern Virginia with her hilarious teenaged son. She discovered her love of writing while earning a degree in Psychology. She switched career paths in 1997 and never looked back. Her debut novel, The Guy I’m Not Dating, placed second in the 2007 FHL Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, and her second novel, Too Good to Be True, finaled in the 2008 FHL IRCC, the GRW Maggie Awards, and LCRW’s Barclay Gold Awards.


Those aren’t mine, officer; I’m just holding them for a friend.

What’s a crime novelist to do? Everything’s been stolen already. How many different ways can thieves make off with fine art, priceless jewels, and oodles of cash?

Yes, a thief’s method of breaking through all of the strongholds can make for a riveting story. So can the intriguing way a top-cop protagonist solves the crime, recovers the booty, and brings the thief to justice.

But if a crime writer wants to be different, maybe the first place to start is with the prize. Can we come up with ideas for stealing something other than the stereotypical treasure?

Maybe we can pinch some creative inspiration from real life.

One of my favorite thefts involved two bright young sparks in Budapest—we’ll call them Beevis and Bajnok. Their Renault panel van (an auto less roomy than your smaller SUVs) was pulled over by the police during a routine traffic check. Beevis unsuccessfully attempted to peel away before the police could approach. Why? Because our boys had stolen twelve 65-pound pigs from a nearby farm and stuffed them into their car. A police spokesperson said, “They (the pigs, not Beevis and Bajnok) were really squashed into the car very tightly.”

You think? Imagine stuffing an entire soccer team of chubby nine-year-old boys into your Honda CR-V. Squashed, yes. And if the cleats came off, possibly as smelly as B and B’s Renault.

We don’t know what fate awaited the squashed piggies. But now that I’ve done a Google search for images of 65-pound pigs and found nothing but pictures of highly successful barbeque events,

something tells me Beevis and Bajnok weren’t simply trying to spare the Hungarian citizens another outbreak of swine flu.

So. Ready to write a stolen-pig caper? No? How about some of these other real-life thefts?

Jack Knox of the Canadian newspaper the Times Colonist reports that someone stole 42,000 clams in British Columbia this past January. And we’re not using slang here—not $42,000. These were actual clams. A month later, British Columbia was hit yet again when someone made off with a $170,000 tattoo-removing machine.

I actually see some rather icky story potential for that one, don’t you?

According to Knox, other thefts have included several drunks stealing another drunk’s artificial leg, a dry cleaner slowly “losing” pieces of police officers’ uniforms until he had assembled a uniform for himself, and two entire sets of aluminum bleachers from a local high school.

Where do you hide stolen bleachers? And fencing them would be a total pain.

You might consider having your thief make off with one of the items mentioned on the Thoughtful Oblivion blog: garden gnomes; a bag of snakes; a hive of bees; a 35-foot inflatable gorilla; a urinal; a life-sized statue of Homer Simpson; or a clearance table full of shoes—all for the right foot.

All things considered, a carload of stolen pigs is starting to make sense.

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