They’re popular in North America (even with Team USA watching from home) but overseas, those Panini World Cup stickers are hot. And sometimes, they’re actually…well…hot, as in stolen.
According to European and South American media reports, the theft happened on Saturday when a group of men wearing hoods and carrying weapons stormed the plant as a manager arrived, ordered employees to load up a truck with pallets full of boxes and held others inside the building at bay.
In all, the thieves reportedly got away with 638 boxes, each of which carried 1,000 packs of stickers.
Security cameras were unable to get a good look at the robbers’ faces and they still haven’t been apprehended. One report indicated the packs would likely be sold below retail on the black market.
World Cup sticker collecting is a tradition in a soccer-mad area of the world where interest is expected to rise in the coming days. The month-long tournament begins next weekend.
Most collectors overseas choose to place their stickers inside an accompanying album, which contains spaces for 682 different stickers.