Alice finds a rare and exotic Solid Gold Poop
, she shows it Bob who then conives to hit Alice over the back the head and steal it. Charlie sees Bob carrying it and puts poison into his food when he's not looking and steals it for himself; and so on and so on.
Chain theft is when a particularly valuable or desirable item is so irresistable that it just keeps getting stolen over and over again, often with each new thief killing the previous thief, or with two thieves working together to steal the item and then one of the pair killing the other.
This is not same as freely sharing pirated material, where the original thief gives away the stolen material (as in online pirated content, or Robin Hooding).
Contrast with Honor Among Thieves
- One of the stories in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book involves Mowgli finding a jeweled elephant goad. Though it's pretty, he considers it worthless so he tosses away, but it is found by a man who is killed by another man to take it, who is killed by a group of men to take it, who then kill each other for possession of it. Mowgli is very disturbed and takes the goad back to where he found it.
- A literal Solid Gold Poop subject to a chain theft becomes a running gag in multiple episodes of American Dad!.
- In a Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird Looney Tunes cartoon Sylvester has Tweety in his hands and is running away, when Tweety gets snatched out of his hands by another cat running the opposite direction. This happens a few times in quick succession, done by several cats. In the end of the sequence Sylvester has Tweety again.
- The Pink Panther and three other characters steal a large bone from each other in "Prehistoric Pink".
- Adventure Time. The thief city episode features this as a scene.