It appears that one of the most valuable heists these days, at least here in California, is the category of nuts – almonds, walnuts and pistachios are being stolen by the truckload.
This has become such a serious, and common problem that several counties have banned the sale of nuts before harvest is complete to discourage black-market sales. California grows the majority of the world’s almonds and is the second-largest producer of pistachios and walnuts.
More than 35 loads, worth at least $10 million, have gone missing since 2013; and now has a force of federal organized-crime investigators and prompted the creation of a regional task force. In Tulare County the Sheriff there formed a new unit: the Nut Theft Task Force.
Scott Cornell, who heads the transportation business at Travelers Insurance and works with the company’s special cargo-theft fraud investigators, says that food and beverages overtook electronics as the most commonly stolen cargo in 2010. “We think the bad guys learned that food is a great category,” he told me. “There’s no serial number. You can’t locate these things over the internet. The evidence is consumed.”