Avocado Thieves Have Created a Black Market on Facebook
"We are seeing thousands of dollars of fruit stolen in a single hit."
Illustration af Tom Delves.
Earlier this summer, we interviewed the inventor of the 'Guac-E Talk-E,' an avocado-shaped walkie talkie, and asked if we had reached peak avocado; his answer: "For sure." Five days later, we reported a $300,000 Ocean's Eleven-style avocado heist in California, which further demonstrated that people really, really want avocados and confirmed the existence of a black market surrounding everyone's favorite fatty fruit.
Now, there is more avocado crime to report. This time, it's via New Zealand. According to The Guardian, the demand for avocados is "fueling a crime wave in New Zealand," and now thieves are apparently turning to Facebook to unload their loot.
READ MORE: The Great Avocado Robbery
Sergeant Trevor Brown from Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand told The Guardian that thieves have become more sophisticated and it's putting a big strain on the local growers.
"We are seeing thefts on a commercial scale," he said. "We are seeing thousands of dollars of fruit stolen in a single hit and people's livelihoods are getting ruined... it is not like just stealing a couple of mandarins off your neighbor's tree, we take it very seriously."
Brown also indicated that there had been "a number of instances" of stolen avocados being sold through Facebook, ever since police cracked down on roadside stands the previous year. As we reported last year, there were 40 large-scale avocado thefts in the first half of 2016 alone.
New Zealand's avocado industry has been working hard to keep up with domestic and international demand, selling 7.7 million trays in the 2016-17 season, a 84 percent increase from the previous season. They've even had to make a PSA explaining how growing demand for avocado lattes and the like are causing shortages.
In other words, we probably haven't even reached peak avocado yet. Buckle up.