Brendan Koerner is a part of the four-way debate Slate is hosting on the NFL playoffs — he’s holding down the role of designated Colts fan — but he’s not so busy that he can’t take time to expose a crime wave that most Americans probably haven’t noticed. Mostly, presumably, because it would be difficult to spot a family pack of pork chops jammed down a windbreaker.

Every supermarket detective”or “loss-prevention specialist,” as many prefer to be called”has an offbeat meatlifting story to share. There’s the one about the lady who seemingly defied the laws of physics by stuffing an entire HoneyBaked Ham in her purse, the man discovered with a trove of filet mignons in his Jockey shorts, or the meth addict who explained that his dealer, exhibiting an atypical benevolent streak, had agreed to accept prime rib in lieu of cash.

Yet most shoppers who use the five-finger discount in the meat aisle are neither so brazen nor so desperate. Carts brimming with groceries, they’ll stealthily slide a single tenderloin or T-bone into a coat pocket, then hit the checkout line alongside their nonlarcenous peers. In this way, millions of pounds of beef, pork, and veal disappear from supermarket shelves each year. Meatlifting is a grave problem for food retailers: According to the Food Marketing Institute, meat was the most shoplifted item in America’s grocery stores in 2005.

Those with a low tolerance for puns and wordplay (“purloined sirloin?” Yes) should take a deep breath before finishing the article, which is both short and fairly interesting. Not sports-related (hence the tag), except in the ways it could possibly affect the NFL’s head coaching fraternity. For instance, there’s no way the Eagles are paying Andy Reid (above) enough to support his meat-eating habit.