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What Are the Most Stolen Items in the World?

Did you know the Mona Lisa became famous because it was one of the first majorly publicized pieces of art to be stolen? Ever since, it’s become recognized globally.

While stories of famous heists can surely be thrilling, they’re not something to romanticize. However, you’d probably be shocked to learn what the most stolen valuable items in the world are.

So, what are the most commonly stolen items? And what makes them so prized by thieves?

We’re here to fill you in. Keep reading below to learn about which objects are contenders for the most stolen item in the world!



One of the retail industry’s most shoplifted items is cheese. In fact, as far as food goes, cheese is the definite number one stolen product. Approximately 4% of food theft is comprised of stolen cheese.

Since extremely well-made and aged cheeses can sell for thousands of dollars, it’s no surprise that it’s an appealing item to thieves. Due to its portable nature, it’s an easier item to steal and conceal.

Often this stolen cheese is resold to restaurants and grocers. And these aren’t just small thefts—there have been numerous cheese heists all over the world where thieves have made off with tens of thousands of dollars worth of product.

Construction Equipment and Materials

Yes, some of the most stolen items in the world can be found on construction sites. In fact, loaders alone make up 26% of heavy equipment stolen on construction sites.

However, stolen items aren’t limited to large equipment like loaders, excavators, and towable equipment like generators and chippers. Raw materials are a prime target for thieves. They can be sold on the black market, and it’s incredibly difficult to track them once they’ve been stolen.

Few of us consider what happens when night falls and a construction site halts work for the evening. That’s why it’s so important for construction companies to understand the importance of construction site security—in fact, you can quickly brief yourself on construction site security at


Most people are shocked to find that famous art is a strong contender for the most stolen item in the world. After all, what do thieves gain exactly from stealing famous works of art? Won’t the thief instantly be found out should they try to sell it?

Well, famous art is actually often stolen to be used as collateral. It’s typically stolen by infamous organizations or known criminals and used as a way to lower their sentence or get a fellow criminal released from prison.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of museums that have lost famous works and spent decades searching for them without success. One such museum is the Gardner Museum in Boston, where 13 works were stolen in 1990. 

Discover the Most Stolen Item in the World

It’s hard to believe that the most stolen item in the world isn’t huge sums of cash. However, we live in a unique era, and thieves have become more creative than ever. With the info above, you can impress your friends and maybe even protect some of your own valuables!

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