OAK CREEK -- Police in Oak Creek are searching for 20,000 pounds of stolen cheese.
A white, unmarked trailer carrying the haul was stolen from a parking lot near 27th and Drexel overnight.
Captain Mike Bolender said the driver parked his semi there and left for several hours. The cheese was reported missing around 2 a.m.
"He left the truck, ran a couple of errands and when he came back the truck was missing with its contents," Bolender said.
The trailer of cheese was parked near a storage area for semis.
Bolender said the cheese was produced by manufacturer U.S. Foods and was en-route to the New York/New Jersey area from Green Bay.
Bolender said U.S. Foods values the cheese at more than $46,000.
"It's a unique case and we're working several leads right now," Bolender said.
Vince Christian, of Wisconsin Cheese Mart, said cheese theft is considered a growing problem in his industry. A trailer of cheese was stolen in Germantown earlier this year.
Also this year, police recovered a stolen load of Parmesan cheese in Grand Chute.
"The cheese pirates are back at it again," Christian joked. "It's kind of crazy that cheese is now so valuable people are going off with entire trucks of it."
Christian said he's not sure what the thieves do with the stolen product.
"If they keep taking these trucks I'm sure they're going somewhere," Christian said. "But I've never heard anything about where."