Speaking with the podcast Gastropod about his new book, A Burglar's Guide to the City, Geoff Manaugh discussed a variety of the bizarre heists and burglarly-related events that have dealt with food throughout history. He discusses a serial McDonald's burglar who typically entered from the roof (aka the real Hamburglar), Scandinavian burglars who have used potatoes to bust open vaults, and the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist of 2012, during which burglars stole six million pounds of syrup. Manaugh also touches on Spartan children and the hunger games they were forced to endure, referring to part of the process known as agoge.

Geoff ManaughOne of the things that came up in my research was this notion that Spartan children, in particular boys being trained for the kind of heavily militant aspect of Spartan culture, were basically sent out on their own to learn self-reliance. 

Nicola Twilley: There were lots of things about the Spartan education system that would maybe not fly today. Those poor kids had to go barefoot in all weathers and on all terrains; they had to cut the reeds for their beds with their bare hands. They endured this bizarre paramilitary-style training, all designed to turn them into the ultimate warriors.

GM: And the way that they were taught this was through sort of the hunger games of their time. They were asked to steal all of their food, and so food was specifically the target. It was the thing that would hone their tactical thinking, it would keep them on their feet, it would teach them everything from stealth, to cunning, to using charisma to get into markets and steal food.

Listen to the full podcast below.


(H/T The Atlantic)

Feature image via Warner Bros.