Tomato Thieves Nab 6 Truckloads

'Smooth as silk' crooks created fake trucking firm
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 15, 2011 1:58 PM CDT
Some $300K worth of tomatoes was stolen in Florida.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

(Newser) – With produce prices soaring, thieves decided the time was ripe for a major operation—and they got away with $300,000 worth of Florida produce, including six truckloads of tomatoes, the New York Times reports. “I’ve never experienced people targeting produce loads before,” said one trucking broker. “It’s a little different than selling TVs off the back of your truck.” But the crooks apparently knew a thing or two about the business.

As prices rose, they formed a fake trucking company. “They were just sitting and waiting, watching the produce because they knew it was climbing,” said a victim. “It was like a snake in the grass and they struck.” The false firm was approved to pick up the tomatoes, as well as cucumbers and frozen meat, all bound for several far-off locations. That allowed the thieves several days before anyone noticed the still-missing cargo. “This was definitely a smart organization,” said another broker. “They were smooth as silk.”

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