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Nut Heists Prompt Lesson on How to Prevent Ag Cargo Theft

Published On: May 16 2013 12:36:51 AM CDT   Updated On: May 16 2013 04:09:51 AM CDT
Experts Teach How to Avoid Ag Cargo Thefts

Experts teach farmers and distributors how to avoid cargo thefts.

CHICO, Calif. -

After a series of recent high-value thefts of agricultural products, the Butte County Sheriff's  Office hosts a forum to teach farmers and distributors how to avoid cargo thefts.

It was welcome information after a $200,000 load of walnuts was stolen from a company in Biggs in February.

Investigators detailed a similar case out of Lodi in March as an example of what can be done to avoid cargo thefts.

In both cases, a load of nuts was picked up by a trucking company secured through a broker and never delivered to its destination.

Each case was tracked to an Armenian organized crime syndicate in Southern California.

The more the public knows about these cases, the more likely they can be prevented.

"If everybody knows how they carry it out, and they try to do it the same way again, it's hopefully not going to work out for them," said Matt Calkins, an investigator with the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

The crowd was informed on exactly what kind of information to gather before letting a load out of their sight.

They were told to use common sense and intuition above all else.

One major piece of advice from investigators, is to get a thumbprint from the driver picking up a load.

Anyone unwilling to provide that is clearly suspect and should not be trusted.

Investigators also said to give the Sheriff's Office information from suspicious drivers.  That allows investigators to create a trail of evidence that can be followed and hopefully stop the thieves in the future.