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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Sgt. Walt Reed said he could tell right away that the grapes were stolen. They looked like an ordinary bunch. Except, he said, for the way they were dressed. “Usually grapes are put into plastic bags,” said Sergeant Reed, a 28-year veteran of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. “But these grapes were just thrown in a Styrofoam box.”
Sergeant Reed — who eventually arrested a suspect after staking out a Kern County vineyard — is just one of dozens of deputies on the front lines of agricultural crime in California, home to the nation’s most productive farms and the people who prey on them. While thievery has long been a fact of life in the country, such crimes are on the rise and fighting them has become harder in many parts of California as many grants for rural law enforcement have withered on the vine.
While other states have their own agricultural intrigue — cattle rustlers in Texas, tomato takers in Florida — few areas can claim a wider variety of farm felons than California, where ambushes on everything from almonds to beehives have been reported in recent years. Then there is the hardware: diesel fuel, tools and truck batteries regularly disappear in the Central Valley, the state’s agricultural powerhouse, where high unemployment, foreclosures and methamphetamine abuse have made criminals more desperate, officials say.
Originally posted by TheOneYouFearIsRight
I don't know about all of you, but this year I planted my own vegetable garden for the very first time to try to offset my grocery costs. Have any of you done the samee?
Originally posted by crimvelvet
reply to post by TheOneYouFearIsRight
So what is new???
My neighbor had a horse stolen, another had cattle and I have had sheep and goats routinely stolen every year for the last ten years. Just before I am about to ship the males to auction they ALL disappear.
A friend came upon a site where they didn't even bother to steal the live animals. They just slaughtered most of his herd taking the best cuts of meat and left a stinking mess for him to clean up and bury.
I have had fencing, fence posts, tires, batteries, saddles.... thousand of dollars worth of animals and equipment stolen. The cops just shrug.
The only thing that has worked is sitting up at night waiting for them and using home defense hardware as scare tactics.