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

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

Three men were arrested Wednesday after authorities say they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of avocados from an avocado facility in Ventura County.

They are accused of stealing the fruit from their employer, Mission Produce, in Ventura County, California, and reselling them for a profit.

After finding evidence "that confirmed the allegations", detectives served multiple warrants in Ventura County Wednesday and arrested three men who are all employees at the facility, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.

Police are calling it grand theft avocado.

Detectives began investigating the suspects in May after receiving a tip that they were conducting unauthorized cash sales of avocados from a ripening facility in the city of Oxnard owned by the Mission Produce company.

Joseph Valenzuela, Carlos Chavez, and Rahim Leblanc were arrested by Ventura County Sheriff's deputies for selling some $300,000 in stolen avocados.

"The investigation is ongoing as Sheriff's Detectives are looking into the possibility that the suspects sold the avocados to unknowing customers, who thought they were paying Mission Produce for the fruit", read a statement from sheriff's officials. Not only has America's annual avocado consumption risen some 700% in the last 25 years, prices have also almost doubled since 2016.

Valenzuela, Chavez, and Leblanc are now being held at Ventura County jail with bail set at $250,000 each.

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