Grand theft avocado: 3 arrested in $300K California theft

Ventura County Sheriff's Office shows suspect Joseph Valenzuela 38 of Santa Paula Calif. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department says three workers at a Southern California produce company were arrest

In this June 14, 2017 photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff's Office shows suspect Joseph Valenzuela, 38, of Santa Paula, Calif.

Authorities in California say three men have been arrested in connection with the theft of avocados valued at over $300,000.

Barnard told the Times sells a box of avocados for $50, and suspects men were selling them for $20 or $30 a box, far below market price. The trio allegedly skimmed avocados from shipments and sold boxes of them out of the back doors of the facility.

"We take these kinds of thefts seriously, it's a big product here", he added. Bookkeepers at Mission Produce became aware of the discrepancy in their profits and discovered security camera footage of the theft. As noted by the Washington Post, avocado prices are now the highest they have ever been on record. Mission Produce estimates the value of the stolen produce to be more than $300,000.

Police believe the men were stealing and selling avocados to unsuspecting customers for at least several months.

Mission Produce is one of the world's largest avocado distributors, with facilities in China, Canada, the Netherlands and the US.

ABC News reported that each of the three men charged with stealing the avocados are now in jail. They are now being held in jail on a bail of $250,000.

In the past, customers would pick up avocado orders at the ripening facility. They were caught after anonymous witness stated they saw the illegal cash sales of avocados.

The three were being held at the Ventura County jail on Friday.

According to KNBC, the three men were charged individually with grand theft, but the charges may change.

The department says their investigation is ongoing. David Boynton at the Venture County Sheriff's Office at 805-388-5100.


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