Man allegedly plundered Nipomo farm, sold avocados to restaurants

May 14, 2019

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies arrested a 37-year-old man on Sunday for allegedly stealing avocados from a Nipomo farm. [Cal Coast Times]

Christian Lara Medrano

Christian Lara Medrano of Santa Maria allegedly pilfered avocados from the Suey Ranch on Bull Canyon Road. Investigators believe Medrano was selling the avocados, which he packed in celery boxes, to restaurants and other local businesses.

Over the past several weeks, the farm’s manager had noticed his fence repeatedly cut near the entrance gate to the property. He then set up game cameras which alerted him to a suspect stealing avocados from the property.

On May 12, after spotting a man on the avocado farm, the manager called the Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies arrived and found Medrano driving his car near the farm’s entrance. When Medrano noticed the patrol units, he turned around, drove back onto the property, and ditched his vehicle.

Inside the vehicle, deputies found a pair of metal snips for cutting wire and approximately 730 Hass avocados worth approximately $620.

Deputies then found Medrano hiding in thick brush, and arrested him for grand theft and trespassing.

Avocado prices are soaring because of smaller crops in California and Mexico and an increase in demand in the Unites States and China. Last year, in New Zealand, an avocado shortage led to an avocado crime wave.


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Uncle Jack

Kiss his Hass goodbye. He’s hit guac bottom.


Snoid

Ah yes, The great california avacado crime wave of 2019. How did we ever survive. ;)


LameCommenter

So, lemme see, even with wire damage costs the loss is under $ 900 so this guy walks with a citation, probably to repeat his crime. Yes he fled to elude police, a separate crime, but California is all into lax or non-existent criminal punishment so like I said, I figure the perp walks away.


InTheKnowing

LC;

interestingly enough this type of arrest is not uncommon where fruits, nuts and avocados are concerned, among many other grown products. Theft of avocados has been on the books for some time and considered serious enough when this law was enacted to involve jail time (jail time not likely today).


Unlike some thefts, avocados being stolen exceeding $250 is considered a felony: Grand theft larceny 487(1)(A) PC (2014). It’s actually really bad news for this guy and very likely his fine will exceed $900, and not to mention a probable ‘strike’ on his record.


The land owner was smart in setting up the game cameras (kudos). I do the same on our ranch and the public would be surprised just how much theft occurs from the land being worked.


And your right LC… California HAS become to lax on punishment because many yahoos today have become kinder, gentler and softer; especially, when they have not been a victim… and then ‘’mama’! when they are.

I’m going to follow-up on what this guy gets from the courts.


LameCommenter

Good catch on that being the statutory $250 avocado level, but it’s also “$250 wholesale value” in that statute, which I happen to have NO idea how many avocados that is, or requires. Keep us posted on what this guy gets bargained down to, please.


Wish you could equip your game cameras with bear spray canisters for thieves.