An Illinois man has been accused of stealing 21 tons of Wisconsin cheese worth approximately $200,000.
Veniamin Konstantinovich Balika is facing criminal charges in New Jersey after detectives found the large quantity of cheese in his vehicle, reported HLN affiliate WISC-TV.
Balika, 34, was arrested at the Vince Lombardi Service Area off the New Jersey Turnpike. He was driving a refrigerated 18-wheel truck carrying 42,000 pounds of Muenster cheese.
New Jersey Detective Oliver Sissman says that the suspect allegedly provided false paperwork to the distributor of K&K Cheese in Cashton last week to obtain the cheese.
"There's a black market for everything," Sissman told WISC-TV. "We've seen everything stolen. We've found stolen beer, stolen food, stolen machine parts, but this is the first time we've found stolen cheese."
K&K spokesman Kevin Everhart says the company does not want the cheese returned since there is no guarantee that it wasn't tampered with.
New Jersey authorities report that the Illinois native was arrested on Tuesday afternoon. State health officials say if the cheese is deemed safe, it will be donated to charity.