Avocado Theft Protection Critical Right Now
The Commission has received reports that avocado theft is on the rise in the southern region of California. In one incident, nearly 5,000 pounds of avocados were stolen from Lilac Hills Ranch between February 22–24, 2014. Officials noted that it appears a fence was cut “a few days prior” to the theft and the stolen avocados were handpicked during a very short time frame. If anyone has any information concerning the felony theft, please contact Detective Dave Brannan at 858.565.5200.
It is critical that California avocado growers take steps to prevent theft in their avocado groves. A complete list of avocado theft protection tips are available on the grower website. Highlights include:
- Assess the security of your grove — examine fences and gates closely.
- Post “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signs to advise potential thieves you will prosecute trespassers.
- Carefully screen job applicants and check their references.
- Encourage farm workers to watch for unusual behavior by fellow employees and to report unescorted visitors to their employers.
- Utilize surveillance equipment, motion detectors, audible alarms, dogs or geese to deter theft.
- Post metal avocado theft signs on your property. Assessment paying California avocado growers may request these signs for their property. Simply fill out CAC’s online Avocado Theft Protection Sign Request form or download the form, and mail it to: CAC, 12 Mauchly, Suite L, Irvine, CA, 92618.
- Post one of the Commission’s avocado theft prevention and reward posters, available in both English and Spanish. The posters are available on the California grower website.
If a theft does occur in your grove it is important you contact law enforcement immediately and leave the scene intact so officials can gather evidence. Theft-related information can be submitted to the hotline at AvoTheft@avocado.org, or by calling (949) 754-0733. It is important to provide the following information when reporting a theft:
- your name
- contact phone number
- address or intersection where theft occurred
- date of theft
- time of theft
- pounds of fruit stolen
- other items taken or vandalized
The California Avocado Commission's Anti-Theft Reward Program provides a monetary reward, of up to $5,000, to individuals who provide information leading to the arrest/conviction of another for unlawful possession of California avocados, or for information leading to the return of stolen fruit, or for information leading to the prevention of an avocado theft in progress. For more information regarding the Commission's reward program, click here.