Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Stealing 21 tons of pistachios? Why not?

I don't know why I love these stories, but I do (via the New York Times)
A California pistachio company was conducting a routine audit when it noticed something suspicious: About 42,000 pounds of pistachios — nearly enough to fill a truck trailer — were missing.

Officials of the company, Touchstone Pistachio, called the agricultural crimes unit of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office. Within days, after checking surveillance footage, sheriff’s deputies arrested 34-year-old Alberto Montemayor, who had been working for Montemayor Trucking, a family-owned business that the pistachio company had hired this year as a contractor, according to the authorities.

Mr. Montemayor was charged with grand theft, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Sgt. Joseph England, who leads the agricultural crimes unit, said it was not uncommon for people to steal nuts in many of California’s rural counties, where farming drives the local economies. The product isn’t easily traced, he said.

But 42,000 pounds of pistachios wasn’t something he’d seen before.

“That was pretty large,” Sergeant England said. “You don’t come across that every day.”

...While 21-ton nut thefts don’t occur often in Tulare County, it’s not unheard-of, Sergeant England said. Nuts are big business in the region, and agricultural thefts are significant enough that the sheriff’s office created its agricultural crimes unit in 1996.

Stealing a truck full of nuts! Who would have thought? (The article indicates that it's pretty easy to put stolen nuts back into the supply chain, which is pretty important. This is why, I presume, why there aren't more theft of bulk chemicals, i.e. you can't move drums of toluene easily in the secondary market.)  


  1. Kind of reminds me of the Quebec Maple Syrup Heist, which, among other things, taught me that there is a maple syrup cartel in Canada:

  2. Having worked for smaller companies where we could buy lab equipment off EBay, etc rather than going through approved vendors, I've seen a lot of brand-new in-the-box equipment for sale for way under market value. I suspect some of it may be stolen.


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