Oodles of noodles missing

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As schools are back in session this month, students across the country are stocking up on easy, cheap, dorm-friendly foods. Most notably, instant ramen noodles—a staple for students and start-ups for generations. They’re certainly a hot commodity this time of year—so hot, in fact, that thousands of dollars worth of ramen has gone missing outside of Atlanta. 

When John Etchison returned to the Chevron station at 1552 Highway 82 South in Fayetteville, Georgia, his entire trailer was gone. Its contents? A load carrying an estimated $98,000 worth of ramen noodles. That’s around 350,000 packets of instant noodles, for those of you keeping score at home. It’s also the greatest ramen heist in history, according to The Daily Wire

FreightWaves spoke to Fayette County Public Information Officer Allen Stevens for more details. Stevens explained that the driver parked his trailer at the gas station south of town on Wednesday, July 25th. A week later, it was nowhere to be found.

Throughout the investigation, Stevens has learned that at this particular station “a lot of drivers in the area have an agreement with the owners of the station to park at the gas station.” The station’s first reaction was the check the security cameras that are aimed at the building. Despite an agreement with truck drivers, security cameras on the premises aren’t aimed at the spare lot that truck drivers use—instead, they cover the storefront and the pumps.  

“He dropped the trailer off on Wednesday, it was secured with a lock, but when he returned to get it, it was gone,” Stevens stated.  

FreightWaves also obtained the police report from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, which noted that the victim “contacted the owner of the property to see if it had been towed in which she advised no.” According to the report, “He further advised that the owner [of the Chevron station] told him that she had spoken with other truck drivers who she had allowed to park at this location, and that they had told her that the trailer was still on scene on Sunday, July 29th.”

The Daily Californian reports that the average packet of instant ramen noodles costs $.13, meaning three square meals of ramen a day would cost a cool $142.65 annually. “Due to its affordability, ramen is often called “gakusei ryori,” or “student food,” in Japan, and start-ups earning just enough for the founders to survive are known to be “ramen profitable.” Using these figures, the amount of instant ramen stolen would feed 320 college students or entrepreneurs for an entire year!

At the time of publication, the trailer has still not been found. “We’ve had tips everywhere from Georgia to Alabama, but nothing has really stuck,” Stevens said. The truck is a white, 53-foot Stoughton trailer with Maine tags. “We’ve got a detective assigned to it and we have not had any other reports of trailers being taken in Fayette county,” Stevens concluded. 

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Maria Baker, Staff Writer

Maria is a staff writer who has covered everything from the environment to sign-on bonuses and women in the industry. She is a recent graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South, where she majored in English literature and minored in environmental studies. Maria loves writing about freight almost as much as she loves Emily Dickinson and the self-imposed challenge of finding the best iced mocha in Chattanooga.