Recent agriculture thefts in the state called fictitious pickups have brought attention to criminals using the Internet to impersonate trucking companies and carryout thefts.
Butte County Sheriff Detective Matt Calkins says his county is all too familiar with the crime. Butte County held a summit several years ago much like Tulare County did last month to educate the industry and elevate everyone’s awareness on the issue, and it was effective. Calkins says these thefts can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and end up costing the consumer down the road.
More About Nut Theft
From Western Agricultural Processors Association: Tree nut cargo thefts have become a pandemic across the entire industry. In response to the most recent thefts the Western Agricultural Processors Association and the American Pistachio growers organized a Tree Nut Theft Emergency Summit. Bringing the industry together under one roof, these organizations saw the opportunity to encourage communication not only between industry members on their individual experiences but also between law enforcement agencies across the state. The thefts are suspected to originate from a Los-Angeles based organized crime ring.
By hacking into a Department of Transportation database, thieves obtain and manipulate identities and shipping information for trucking and transportation companies. Once the thieves arrive onto the premises they turn over the fraudulent paper work obtain the cargo. It is not until the legitimate company responsible for picking up the load shows up to the facility that it is determined that the paperwork and company were fraudulent. Discussions included a briefing on the most recent thefts, current industry anti-theft measures and processors coverage and liability in cases of theft. See Calkins’ presentation from the summit.