Illinois Man Arrested in NJ With Stolen Wisconsin Cheese

Police said the man was driving a refrigerated truck carrying 42,000 pounds of Muenster cheese

Thursday, Mar 28, 2013  |  Updated 9:12 AM EDT
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Veniamin Konstantinovich Balika

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An Illinois man accused of stealing 21 tons of Wisconsin cheese has been arrested in New Jersey.

New Jersey authorities say Veniamin Konstantinovich Balika, 34, from south suburban Plainfield was arrested Tuesday afternoon.

New Jersey State Police Lt. Stephen Jones said Wednesday the man was driving a refrigerated truck carrying 42,000 pounds of Muenster cheese. Jones says the cheese company, K&K Cheese in Cashton, Wis., valued the cargo at $200,000.

New Jersey Detective Oliver Sissman tells WISC-TV in Wisconsin that the suspect used false paperwork to obtain the cheese.

Company spokesman Kevin Everhart says K&K can't guarantee the cheese hasn't been tampered with, so it didn't ask for the product back.

Jones says if the cheese passes inspections by health authorities it will be donated to charity.

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