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Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.
What do you do with two million dimes? That’s what a group of thieves reportedly made off with after breaking into a tractor-trailer in a Northeast Philadelphia parking lot.
The Great Philly Dimes Heist went down around 6 a.m. last Thursday outside the Walmart on Byberry Road, where a driver had parked a truck transporting coins from the Philadelphia Mint. Philly is one of three places dimes are minted, along with Denver and San Francisco.
He was catching a few hours of sleep elsewhere before taking the coinage to Florida, according to PPD detectives, who said a pre-trip nap is common practice for safety reasons, and returned to find the break-in.
Whoever pulled off the caper left a lot of evidence: the whole parking lot sparkled with silvery metal when police first arrived. After painstakingly picking up what was left, they calculated the missing coinage was worth about $200,000, out of $750,000 total in the truck, per 6ABC.
Authorities are still looking for the suspects. Per the New York Times (yes, this numismatic news has gone national) as many as 10 people may have been involved in lugging the cash into a white Chrysler 300 and a dark-colored pickup truck.
No easy feat. Those tiny circles of cupronickel only weigh a bit over 2¼ grams each, but put two million together and you’ve got 10,000 lbs. — a whopping 5 tons of loot.
To put that in context, here are some other Philly things that weigh that much.
A building block at the bottom of City Hall
It took 30 years to construct Philadelphia City Hall, which was briefly the tallest occupied building and is still considered the largest free-standing masonry building in the world.
The higher stories are made of marble and limestone, and there is some brickwork, but the basement floor was constructed of granite. Each block is up to 22 feet thick to support the load of the rest of the structure, and weighs between 2 and 5 tons.
500 cases of Yards Philly Pale Ale
If you’ve ever heard a beer called “heavy,” it’s not just a vibe thing: different kinds of beer have different weights, with darker, thicker beers clocking in higher on the scale. This is an important factor for breweries trying to determine shipping methods and costs.
For a classic ale like Yards Brewing’s Philly Pale Ale, the average weight of one case (24 cans) is about 20 lbs., so you could swap 500 of them for the weight of all those dimes.
Not a very good deal monetarily, though. The cases sell for $38.99 each, so your total cost would be less than $20k, about a tenth of the stolen coin’s worth.
A day’s worth of food redistributed by Sharing Excess
This one shines a light on the impressive scale of Sharing Excess’s operations.
The food redistribution nonprofit — which you may recall from last year’s Avogeddon event in FDR Park — handles an average of 10,000 lbs. of surplus food each and every day, moving it from grocery stores, wholesalers, and farmers and making it available to feed people facing hunger.
The Phanatic and a few dozen friends
With a 90-inch waist, according to lore (and the official MLB site), the Phillie Phanatic weighs 300 lbs., so it would take about 33 of similarly girthed creatures to match the dime haul.
Could there actually be that many? All we know about is mom Phoebe, and best friend Phyllis. But the Phanatic hails from the Galapagos Islands, so it’s possible that hidden along the Pacific archipelago they do exist.
14 retail freezers full of water ice
Instead of stealing, entrepreneurial-minded people could rack up the tonnage with water ice freezers.
An easy-install version of those behind-the-counter cases weighs about 188 lbs. and holds 16 large tubs of water ice. Put that all together and your summer business-in-waiting clocks in at 738 lbs.
Philadelphia Water Ice Factory offers the freezers for $1,295 each, with nine tubs thrown in, so you’re looking at about the same cost as the beer to match the dimes’ weight.
A maxed-out elevator at North Broad’s big internet hub
The Netrality Data Center at 410 N. Broad St. is one of the biggest junctions on the nation’s information highway. It has its own zip code (really) and manages fiber optic data zipping up and down the East Coast.
To handle all the equipment needed for that job — and from companies that lease out space there — it’s got pretty large elevators. Their max capacity is 10,000 lbs., aka 5 tons.
10,000 loaded cheesesteaks
How much a cheesesteak weighs depends where you get it, of course. Some places are more generous than others.
But like the name of the shop under the El in Kensington, the big ones weigh in at about a pound apiece. Even trying to think about eating that many might have you wanting to go back to counting dimes.