Thursday, November 7, 2013

Organized crime responsible for nut heist (walnuts and almonds, that is)?

That's the suggestion in Scott Neuman's NPR story about a $400,000 walnut theft in California's Central Valley.  The report notes that this is at least the sixth major theft of walnuts and almonds in recent months.  The details of the most recent theft are described by Rich Paloma, a former law enforcement officer who is now a journalist with the Oakdale Leader:
The walnuts were in three double-trailer sets ... apparently the suspect or suspects hooked up their own tractor to [it] and then drove it off through the fence and then onto the nearby highway.
Paloma further opines on who might be behind the thefts, using the phrase "nut mafia."
From my research, I'm gathering that the person who does this is going to be well-organized and have some connections.  In fact, some of the sources I've contacted indicate that there's an organized crime aspect to this. If you look at how they're taken out, how they are planned, the equipment that is being used, it's going to require some investment.
The price of walnuts has more than tripled in recent years, from $0.60/pound to $2.00/pound.

A 2011 post about pecan thefts in Georgia is here.

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