Worker discovers fraudulent documents, thwarting a theft of over $100k in almonds
Last Updated: 49 days ago
WASCO, Calif. - A major almond theft is stopped by an eagle-eyed worker at in almond processing plant in Wasco.
A truck driver later identified as Francisco Javier Lopez Martinez attempted to pick up a load of almonds from Sunny Gem Almond Processors and drive them to L.A.
The worker at the almond processing plant noticed that his documentation seemed fraudulent so he called sheriff's deputies.
"He presented a form that had false numbers on it," said Andrew Murray, the sales administration manager of Sunny Gem. "They will tape their own fake logo over it. Some of them are real cheap looking where its just a piece of cardboard with sharpie."
Murray said the paperwork did not add up. They asked deputies to perform a sting.
Deputies discovered all of the man's documents were fraudulent and he was attempting to steal the load of almonds.
The next day the driver, Martinez, showed up with fake documents to pick up the load.
"He even went and put his dot number and his license number on the door," Murray said. "A lot of guys don't do that but this guy was trying to be more sophisticated."
Deputies busted Martinez who told them he was told to drive the load a specific load in Los Angeles and walk away.
Murray said these robberies are becoming more common. Almond prices are up so there is demand for the nuts in small markets in LA or San Francisco.
"Here at Sunny Gem Almonds they want other would-be nut thieves to know they are watching for you and you will be caught," Murray said.
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Martinez was arrested and charged with grand theft in a long list of related charges.
Deputies say the almonds are often stolen and then sold on the black market. They estimate this load of almonds was worth more than $100,000.
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