These are tough times indeed. Food stamps through the roof, unemployment at 7.6 percent; 13.9 percent by another measure (look it up -- impress your policy wonk friends!), and less food costing more and more money. Uh-oh! Not the best backdrop, if you're someone with stuff to protect! Sure, even in the best of times, people steal. But in a pancaked economy, the pilfering goes onward and upward, and sometimes it moves sideways and gets a little ... weird.
Let's take a look at 10 items you might not imagine people would steal, but steal them they do. One recurring theme you'll notice along the way is stuff being lifted because it can be sold as scrap metal. It's hard work for the earnest thief -- and not usually the stuff of a top criminal mind -- often with very little return on investment.
Vacant, and even occupied, houses can be stripped of their copper wiring and pipes or their copper-friendly appliances like air conditioners. Cars can be relieved of their metal-rich catalytic converters in no time flat. Aluminum streetlight poles can be cut down, chopped up and sold, lit streets be damned.