The thefts began two weeks ago when six cases of plastic toothpicks were stolen from Armond's Manufacturing Company Inc. in Athens. Last weekend, another seven cases disappeared from the factory. Armond's is described on its website
as "makers of fine gum stimulators since 1988."
The Athens Banner-Herald
reports each case holds 288 packages of 100 toothpicks and the total number of gum stimulators taken was 374,000. Police say the value of the two hauls was $2,808.
Police are quoted by CBS News
as saying there were no signs of forced entry in both break-ins. The owner believes it is an inside job committed by an employee or a former employee of Armond's who still has a key to the factory.
People can and do get jail time for breaking and entering and committing theft. So the question must be asked; why would someone risk time in the slammer for a bunch, albeit a large number, of toothpicks? Is there a market for hot gum stimulators? Do thieves go into sleazy bars asking patrons if they want to buy some toothpicks real cheap?
Two Armond's employees may have come up with why the tens of thousands of toothpicks were stolen. The Augusta Chronicle
reports the two were at a flea market in Athens last weekend when they saw a person hawking containers of their company's toothpicks. The employees were unable to provide a description of the seller to police other than the fact he was a Hispanic male.
The employees' observations also raises another question—who goes to a flea market to buy toothpicks?
None of the almost 400,000 of the stolen items have been recovered.