Most people think thieves just steal ‘normal’ things like cash, jewelry, watches, and cars.  However, a combination of greed, amorality, and desperate times – as well as black market demand – has driven creative thieves to steal some pretty ridiculous things.

Things that you wouldn’t think are ‘stealable,’ or would be stolen by people who have a ounce of conscience, are now systematically stolen.

Below 5 ridiculous items thieves steal.

1. Things made from metal

Desperate times – and rising commodities prices – have driven people to steal metal objects to sell them for scrap metal.

A recent audit in Pittsburgh discovered that $40,000 worth of the city’s steel trash cans have been stolen.  Twelve of them have been discovered by the police at a scrap yard.

Illinois media recently reported that “scrappers” – people who cruise around the streets for scrap metal – likely stole a metal wheelchair from a boy that cost his parents $7,681.

2. Houses

Yes, people steal houses from people. 

These ‘house predators’ usually target senior citizens or desperate people.  The scam involves drawing up a bogus payment plan – either by giving the victim a loan or for doing some work on the house – that turns over the ownership of the house to the predator if the victim misses just one payment.

This contract wouldn’t stand up under the court of law.  If the predators meet the slightest legal challenge, they back away.  However, every now and then, they counter victims who don’t fight back.

3. Labor

Labor is indeed something people steal, or at least misappropriate. 

LA Times reported that a couple in China enslaved mentally disabled people to work at a brick factory in unsafe and grueling conditions.  They tricked their victims with promises of good jobs.

An NGO for the disabled in China claims that one charitable organization sold at least 11 mentally challenged people to a brick factory 1,000 miles away.

4. Babies

Babies are stolen for adoption – through both legitimate and illegitimate avenues.

Stealing babies to sell on the black market for adoption is something that has occurred for thousands of years in various parts of the world.

Recently, however, Chinese newspaper Caixin reported that a local government planning agency in rural Hunan, China abducts babies from local families and then sells them to adoption agencies targeting Westerners.

Presumably, it’s sold to a middleman who gets a cut of the exorbitant adoption fee Westerners have to pay to adopt children from China.

5. Organs

Despite some instances of hoax, organ theft is not always a myth.

In China, the government allegedly harvests the organs of Falun Gong prisoners, according to the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG).

ABC reported that in India, laborers are tricked to a remote location under the guise of a job offer, drugged at gunpoint, and had their kidneys harvested. 

In one particular case, the beneficiary of this theft was an American couple from Hawthorne, New York, who wanted to circumvent the long line for kidney transplant in the US.