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Nutty Thieves Are Nuts About Nuts

Updated on January 19, 2014

California's nuts are worth a lot of money. For the many who are not working or barely working, nuts have become a target for some to steal and resell. In October, thieves cut through a fence and hauled off $400,000 worth of harvested nuts. In another case, $100,000 in almonds was stolen by a driver who had a fake license. He just drove away. And, in another case, a big rig filled with pistachios did the same when the driver did not wait for the paperwork.

California grows more pistachios and almonds than any other country. Many of the stolen nuts end up on the black market or at a farmer's market. Nuts are valuable because of the growing Asian market and have made their theft so common that law enforcement is trying to fight it. The state's valuable commodity has been valued at $5 billion for almonds and pistachios at $1 billion.

The law enforcement is focusing on the drivers, since once they leave the orchard, they can disappear. Now, drivers will be fingerprinted, photographed, and confirming the driver is to pickup the nuts for the broker with legitimate paperwork and phone validation.

But, if you have a truckload of nuts to sell, exactly where would you go to sell the bulk? Maybe just to a nut broker who is unsuspecting for a low price. The broker might not know these are the same nuts he had contracted for with the legitimate farmer. Selling them in much smaller amounts might work at a farmer's market or to fruit stands.

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