Publicity about widespread almond thefts made a tipster curious enough to call the Merced County, Calif. Sheriff’s department about men carrying bins from various nut processors from a rental truck to a warehouse in Merced, Calif.
Merced Sheriff’s Detective Vince Gallagher told the Associated Press the tip led to the arrest of two men and the recovery of $400,000 in stolen almonds.
Arrested were Sukhwinder Singh Grewal, 41, and Amrik Singh, 27. Grewal is identified in the article as the owner of Sona Spice Imports, a Sacramento-based importer and wholesaler of goods from India.
The tipster had read about the thefts and called police after seeing workers transporting boxes from various nut processors between a rental truck and the warehouse. Gallagher said the men arrested face charges of receiving and possessing stolen property.
Investigators suspect that the almonds in the warehouse were stolen from Central Valley orchards and storage yards.
The discovery at the warehouse was a rare break in a series of thefts that has cost California farmers at least $1.5 million in stolen almonds this year, according to the Agricultural Crime Technology Information and Operations Network.
The network is a coalition of agricultural commissioners offices, district attorney offices and sheriff’s departments in the Central Valley.