These tomato thieves aren’t just naughty bunnies nibbling in your garden, but a sophisticated band of crooks taking advantage of the high price of produce right now to take in $300,000 hauls, reports the NYT.
A combination of premium produce prices and a deep winter freeze has suddenly made the vegetables a plum target. Law enforcement said that the criminals seemed steeped in the ways of the trucking industry and had even set up a fake trucking company in order to perpetrate their theft.
What they did is watch websites where brokers posted notices looking for trucks to carry loads from shippers to buyers. They signed up for the pickup, passed all the normal checks, and then drove off with all the produce, never to be seen again.
“I’ve never experienced people targeting produce loads before,” an assistant manager at a trucking broker in Oviedo, FL, that was hit three times by the thieves told NYT. “It’s a little different than selling TVs off the back of your truck.”