An organized ring of thieves has made been stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of nuts grown in the Central Valley. Growers and law enforcement agencies from five counties are on alert to stop the thefts.
Growers and law enforcement agencies are working to spread and share information on the recent nut thefts. In one case, a driver with false papers rode off with a half million dollar cargo of pistachios in Tulare County last month.
Sergeant Randy Johnson heads the San Joaquin County Sheriff's agricultural crime unit. He says nut producers must increase precautions such as verifying driver ID's.
"Taking extra steps to protect themselves in identifying who is exactly picking up the loads prior to releasing the product to them, multiple layers of protection and security are able to identify who you are releasing these loads to."
Johnson says his department has recovered six and a half tons of stolen walnuts and a stolen truck with 40,000 pounds of almonds this year.