California Police say three employees were charged for stealing $300,000 worth of avocados from Oxnard produce company.
According to California Police, Carlos Chavez, Joseph Valenzuela and Rahim Leblanc were charged with theft for stealing approximately $300,000 worth of avocados from the Oxnard produce company, Mission Produce, they worked for.
According to the Sherriff’s Office, the three men were arrested as suspects of the grand theft on Wednesday. The three reportedly worked at Mission Produce for several years. The police say that they believe the men were selling them on the side for months. They are currently being held in jail on a bail of $250,000.
The police started investigating the three men in May, after receiving a tip that they may have been involved in an unauthorized sale of avocados. The sales were reportedly taking place at the company’s ripening facility.
The Company on the Theft
According to Steve Barnard, the president of Mission Produce, the company usually sells a box of the fruit for $50, but the three men were selling them for $25. “They are in demand. Everybody loves avocados,” said sergeant John Franchi from the Sherriff’s office. “We take these kinds of thefts seriously. It’s a big product here and in California.”
According to the company, they had stopped selling avocados recently, but their customers apparently didn’t notice. They claim that it is then that the three men started making illicit sales of avocados to unwitting customers.
Avocado has become an increasingly popular fruit in the US. According to the Hass Avocado Board, its sales have increased every year over the last 15 years. Hass avocados, which are about 95 percent of the avocados sold in the US, have recently reached a peak record of about 1.9bn pounds- about 4.25 bn avocados. This was over two times the amount sold in 2005 and four times that of 2000.