Stolen cheese turns up at New Jersey rest stop

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | 3/29/2013

New Jersey state police have charged an Illinois trucker with trying to sell 21 tons of stolen Muenster cheese at a turnpike rest area near Ridgefield, NJ.

They think 34-year-old Vaniamin Balika of Plainfield, IL, stole $200,000 worth of cheese from K&K Cheese manufacturing in Cashton, WI, by presenting phony paperwork to pick up the load.

Then he allegedly drove to the Vince Lombardi rest area on the New Jersey Turnpike to try to sell it.

Why did he choose a rest area?

State police Sgt. Brian Polite offers his theory.

“It was a large amount of cheese. It was over 42,000 pounds of cheese that can only be transported by truck,” Polite told “Land Line Now.”

“I’m just thinking that he knew the only way he would be able to sell this cheese in large quantities would be to sell it to another trucker who would engage in this type of criminal activity,” Polite said.

Sgt. Polite says he can’t disclose what led them to Balika. He does say that no one bought any of the cheese.

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