Thieves Steal 300,000 Football Stickers In Dramatic Panini Heist

Sticker maker Panini has reassured Brazillians that there is no football sticker shortage as a result, so don’t panic.

1. In Brazil, football stickers are no laughing matter. Which might explain why thieves have just made off with 300,000 of them after hijacking a van in Rio de Janeiro.

Reuters and local newspaper reports say that footy-mad thieves intercepted the van carrying official Panini stickers and albums, as it made its way to the city’s newsagents.

Such is the enthusiasm for Panini stickers in Brazil, the company has confirmed the theft but moved to reassure fans that there will be no sticker drought, saying: “Panini can state that the city of Rio de Janeiro is well supplied and there is no shortage of official Panini products for sale.”

So if you’re a Brazilian fan still looking for a shiny sticker of Neymar or Ronaldo, fear not.

2. Football stickers are huge in Brazil – even more so as the country gets ready to host the World Cup – with people of all ages collecting them with the aim of filling their albums, making vans like this a target.

3. This isn’t the first time it’s happened – burglars took more than 300,000 stickers from a warehouse in Sao Paolo during 2010, before the World Cup in South Africa (some were later recovered).

Collectors swap all this stuff at events and fairs, as well as via online trading sites. Some rare completed football sticker albums are sold for as much as 1,000 reals (£270), with 1970s vintage ones worth 2,500 reals (£670).

4. According to one estimate, you would need to buy 824 packs of stickers to fill this year’s album, at a cost of £412. So you had better get saving your pocket money.

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Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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