Thieves Stole $300,000 of Avocados, and Your Brunch Game Is to Blame

Here's yet another reason why your avocado toast is surprisingly controversial.
June 19, 2017, 8:00pm
Photo via Flickr user slgckgc

Oh, how young and naïve you are if you smugly believed, without a shadow of a doubt, that the world had hit peak avocado fandom. Alas, it turns out that the number of people you know who have had reconstructive surgery on their utterly decimated 'avocado hands' has little to no bearing on whether society has truly reached the height of this cultural frenzy.

In fact, the true measure of whether the avocado has jumped the shark or not is this: Has hysteria over the avocado actually inspired an Ocean's Eleven-style heist? The answer to that question, we learned this week, is yes.

"They are in demand. Everybody loves avocados," said Sergeant John Franchi of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office in California. He was talking about an arrest his department made last week of three gentlemen, all charged with grand theft—of $300,000 worth of avocados. Although no one knows exactly how many pounds of the fruit so beloved by millennials was stolen in the scam, "a shitload" would be a pretty good guess.

READ MORE: Have We Reached Peak Avocado? We Asked the Inventor of the 'Guac-E Talk-E'

The authorities claim Joseph Valenzuela, Rahim Leblanc, and Carlos Chavez had been stealing avocados from their employer, Mission Produce, and selling them to customers who probably didn't know that the innocent-looking avos were actually illicit goods.

According to Steve Barnard, the president of the produce company, the three employees stole partial pallets and boxes of avocados and then sold them from the back door of the company's distribution center, pocketing the cash for themselves and selling $50 boxes for a mere $20–$30. Suspicions were raised by wary customers and the company's own bookkeepers; surveillance footage exposed the scam. "They were looking to make money," Sergeant Franchi said. Mission is one of the world's biggest avocado distributors and ships the green goodies all over the world. According to CEO Barnard, demand for avocados is high—so high that his company will now be reinforcing security at the distribution center. Lesson learned: The number of urban taxidermists you know who have legally changed their name to "Avolatte" probably counts for something, but it's not the true measure of the hysteria surrounding the humble avocado. Felony fruit charges? That'll do.