Pasta, Police, & You:
Stolen Spaghetti!

Somebody Toucha My Spaghet!  Police, Pasta, & Problems



Spaghetti & meatballs is a common dish that satisfies people’s hunger across the globe. Popular as this pasta dish might be, one man’s craving for the staple food led him to end up in some hot water… with the law!

A man in Pennsylvania was craving the classic dish so much so that he broke into someone’s home and stole a pot of meatballs and sauce ( a crime in itself – meatballs and sauce with no carbs?!?  Get over yourself man!).

The victim (the person whose house was broken into) said he came home to the man in front of his house covered in red sauce. When he went inside he noticed the pot of meatballs with red sauce he’d been preparing was missing, and so he called the police.

The police arrived at the scene and began following up leads, since the suspect who had since ran off.  They eventually found him at his home – in the next city over – with his face and clothing still covered in the sauce from the pot!

The thief was charged with burglary, theft by unlawful taking, and criminal trespassing (when you enter somebody else’s property without their permission).  On top of all those charges related to the theft, he had already been “wanted on a warrant for failing to appear for a prior incident”.


1: What penalties could the thief face for the theft by unlawful taking charge?

2: What penalties could he face for the burglary charge?

3: What penalties could he face for the criminal trespassing charge?    As you answer these questions, keep in mind that the level of consequences people face relating to theft and property damage can be tied to the value of the property that was damaged or stolen.  

4: How much is a pot of meatballs and sauce worth?  Do you count the time that goes into preparing the dish?  Cooking is an emotional process for some people – does that increase the value?   Give us a few ideas of how you would account for the value of the stolen (and technically, destroyed) property.  Then, let us know if the changing value leads to a higher possible maximum penalty under the law!  Bonus points for those of you who reply with the punishments in Nevada compared to those in Pennsylvania, where the pasta sauce was pilfered!

Be sure to provide full explanations for your answers.  For more details, you can read the articles this piece was sourced from here:

Contributed by- J. Plummer

Culinary Crimes, food law, Food Law Related Education, I Did It For The Nomz, law, Law Related Education, meatballs, Om nom nom, Project REAL, ProjectREALNV, ProjectREALOrg, Relevant Law, Spaghetti, theft,

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