“I guess I surprised them,” Wileman said. “They just ran off and abandoned the car.”
One ironic aspect of the theft problem this season is California’s lower than normal volume.
“Because of the smaller crop, the thieves have to work harder to get enough fruit,” Wileman said.
Where the thieves market the stolen avocadoes is something of a mystery, but Lucy has his suspicions.
“There are so many fruit stands popping up selling bags of 25 avocadoes for $5,” he said. “You have to wonder where they find these avocadoes.”
Bellamore also suspects some of the fruit is being sold to small, independent restaurants. As for large-scale thefts, Bellamore believes they may be well-planned at both ends.
“Not only would the theft, itself, be well-orchestrated, but you’d think that to unload that volume of fruit there must have been some thought given to the receiving end,” he said.