Three men have been arrested for stealing avocados, and the police have given the crime a hilarious nickname

Karen Fratti
Three men have been arrested for stealing avocados, and the police have given the crime a hilarious nickname

Avocados are delicious, but they’re also valuable. Although we never endorse breaking the law or taking other people’s property, we’re sort of amused by the three men who have been arrested for stealing avocados. Cops are calling it “grand theft avocado,” which you have to admit is pretty punny.

Three produce company workers were arrested on Wednesday for stealing what the company estimates is about $300,000 worth of avocados. That’s a lot of guac. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department in California charged the trio with grand theft of fruit and are holding them on $250,000 bail per head. So, remember everyone: crime doesn’t pay.

It’s a victory for the police, who have been investigating this crew of fruit thieves for about two months; detectives got a tip that the men were conducting “unauthorized cash sales” of avocados from a ripening facility owned by Mission Produce.

Avocados are worth a lot of money these days.

Protecting avocados is a pretty big deal. In California, there’s an actual commission to guard against avocado grove theft — because everyone wants avocados, and if you can sell them on the black market, there’s cash to be made. In New Zealand, there was a crime outbreak recently over the coveted fruit. Seriously.

Last year, during a shortage in NZ, thefts spiked. People were selling avos for about $6 each. Thieves would sneak onto groves in the middle of the night and then shake, or “rake,” entire trees, collecting the fruit. They would then sell them at street-side pop-ups, or to small sushi and sandwich shops in Auckland. But buying a stolen avocado can be really dangerous, actually, and not just because you’re buying it from a crook.

They’re usually unripe and run the risk of still having chemicals on them if they were sprayed recently. Avocado farms pick the avocados and then process and clean them before sending them to market. The thieves aren’t doing all that work.

It’s not clear what these three California thieves planned to do with their bounty, but they’ve been thwarted for now. It’s not clear if they have legal representation just yet.