Police bust 'elaborate scheme' to steal, sell nearly $300,000 worth of pistachios

The suspects also stole $60,000 worth in trailers, authorities said.
/ Source: TODAY

This heist story is more than a little nuts.

Earlier this month, on Aug. 14, detectives in the Agricultural Crimes Unit at the Tulare County Sheriff's Office in central California uncovered an "elaborate scheme" to steal and sell hundreds of dollars' worth of pistachios, according to a recent Facebook post from the sheriff's office.

"The suspects stole the identity of a legitimate trucking company" and then "used that company’s name to secure contracts for the delivery of two tractor-trailer loads of pistachios, worth more than $294,000," authorities' statement explained.

Next, the individuals involved allegedly took the pistachios to a nearby abandoned property, removed the packaging and sold the product to "an unsuspecting buyer," according to authorities.

Authorities were able to uncover the scheme because the suspects allegedly stole two trailers equipped with real-time GPS to carry out the heist. Detectives contacted the owner of the stolen trailers and then tracked down the suspects, pistachios and trailers, the statement said.

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The crime scenes spanned three counties, including Fresno County and Madera County, and detectives recovered $294,000 in pistachios and $60,000 in trailers in total, Facebook post stated.

One suspect, who authorities said had evidence linking him to the crime scene at his home, was booked on the charges of grand theft, looting, identity theft and conspiracy, according to authorities, who also said that additional arrests are "anticipated."

Photos from the Tulare County Sheriff's Office on Facebook showed dozens or more bags of what appeared to be pre-packaged pistachios with the label "Signature Farms Roasted and Salted Pistachios" and large crates of unpackaged pistachios covering an entire section of the floor of a warehouse.

"Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact Detective Bryan De Haan or Sgt. Bryan Clower at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-808-0488 or anonymously at tcso@tipnow.com, or by text or voicemail at 559-725-4194," the post concluded.