Great Dill Robbery Takes Place in Moscow

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) – An audacious heist in Moscow threatened to cripple the New Year festivities: police on Friday reported that robbers had made away with 557 boxes of dill and parsley, the nation’s staple culinary herbs.

Four men approached the truck driver transporting the herbs when he stopped in southern Moscow, city police said, Vechernyaya Moskva newspaper reported.

The attackers forced the trucker into their Mercedes at gunpoint, put a jacket over his head and drove him away, the report said.

Eight hours later, they dropped him back by his truck – but by that time it had been emptied. Damages from the heist are estimated at 500,000 rubles ($16,500). Police are on the lookout for the dill thieves.

Dill is ubiquitous in Russia. In Russian cuisine it is sprinkled generously on anything from beetroot soup borsht, to Olivier salad and even caviar sandwiches.

The annual per capita consumption of dill in Russia was estimated at 1.6 kilograms, according to a 2011 report by major greenhouse provider Agrotip.

Not even foreign dishes are safe: expat-run Facebook community Dillwatch, dedicated to “inappropriate sightings of dill,” reported dill-enhanced quiches, sushi and Greek salad.

This is the second pre-New Year food heist in days: earlier this week, 37 tons of potatoes were stolen from a storage facility in the Moscow Region, Vechernyaya Moskva reported.

A female fraudster presented fake invoices and drove away with two truckloads of the vegetable worth 260,000 rubles ($9,000), a regional police spokesman said.

(Corrects dateline.)

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