Almond heists on the rise in California

Oct. 8, 2006 at 4:08 PM

RIPON, Calif., Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Authorities have reported a spate of almond heists, particularly in California, where 80 percent of the world's almonds are produced.

The New York Times says although no arrests have been made, police and farmers believe a network of almond thieves is responsible for the thefts. The most recent robbery was last Sunday, when a truck containing 40,000 pounds of almonds was stolen after it left Fresno.

The heists are the result of a surging popularity of almonds, the report said. Almonds are a popular food in the Mideast and in Japan. The "nut nappers" are believed to be combining old fashion cat burglar techniques with computer technology and sophisticated escapes, the Times said.

Farm officials estimate losses from the robberies at $1.5 million.

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