Ag detectives with the Tulare and Kern county sheriff's offices recovered about $75,000 in stolen fruit packaging, including truckloads of grape lugs. ( Courtesy Tulare County Sheriff's Office )

Agriculture detectives with the Kern and Tulare counties sheriff’s departments have busted an operation that stole fruit packing materials and cartons and then resold them.

According to a news release from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, detectives from the two counties worked together to recover about $75,000 in packing materials on Aug. 6, and they arrested two men in connection with the thefts.

The arrests were in Kern County, where the sheriff’s departments found packing materials for grapes.

“What started out as a small quantity quickly grew to the discovery of numerous pallets containing hundreds of boxes of grape packaging bags and Styrofoam boxes,” according to a news release from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.

Law enforcement officials contacted the previous owners of the packaging in Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties. The sheriff’s department said victims include Mid Valley Packing, Mr. Box Inc., J&S Packaging and Styrotech.

Charges have been filed in Kern County, and detectives in the counties’ Agriculture Crimes departments are pursuing leads to recover additional packaging that were purchased from the suspects. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who purchased packing materials from illicit sellers to contact detectives.

Information regarding the thefts should be reported to Det. Andrew Diaz or Sgt. Chad Rhyman in the Tulare County Sheriff’s Ag Crimes Investigations Unit at (559) 735-1898, according to the release. Information can be given anonymously through TipNow at tcso@tipnow.com.

 
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