Chilean Glacier Ice Heist Lands Thieves in Hot Water

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As a result of climate change, Chile's Jorge Montt Glacier receded nearly a half-mile just last year alone -- but, as it turns out, global warming isn't the only thing robbing the region of its ice cover. Recently, Chilean police arrested members of a crime ring as they drove a refrigerated truck filled with over 5 tons of ice stolen from the already dwindling glacier. Authorities say they've never seen a case quite like this before -- of 'hot' ice, that is.

According to a report from EFE, police were first tipped that a great glacier heist was underway last week along Chile's rapidly melting Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Yesterday, police arrested one man as he was transporting the cold loot; six others involved in the ice thieving ring were later identified as well and charged with 'simple theft'. The going price for all that ice, 5.7 tons in total, is reported to be upwards of $6,200.

Authorities suspect that thieves were planning on selling the ice to bars and restaurants.

Never before, say police, has stealing glacial ice ever landed anyone in hot water like this, so the charges may in fact be escalated to include crimes against Chile's national heritage.

"It's the first time denouncing a situation of this nature," says José Moris, regional prosecutor behind the investigation.

While this may be the first occasion that police have caught glacier thieves cold-handed, its certainly not the only time human activities have resulted in missing ice. In recent years, due to rising temperatures associated with climate change, the Jorge Montt Glacier has been in dramatic retreat, losing as much as 7 miles of ice coverage in as many years.

In other words, lest the global community makes genuine strides to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gas emissions, we are all responsible for committing a similar injustice -- even if we never had to put on our mittens to do it.

Tags: Chile | Glaciers