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Over the last several months, Joseph Valenzuela, 38, Carlos Chavez, 28 and Rahim Leblanc, 30, made bank by selling avocados they stole from their employer, Mission Produce. The company says that in total, the three men cost Mission Produce around $300,000. Yeah, $300,000 dollars. That’s enough to buy at least a few plates of avocado toast from a popular brunch spot.
Mission Produce recently began delivering avocados to its customers, FOX New reports, rather than having customers pick them up from their facility.
Some customers weren’t informed of this change, however, and so they continued showing up to the facility where they unknowingly purchased boxes of the stolen avocados. The men sold the boxes for $20 to $30 cheaper than normal price — a box typically sells for $50. The men would pocket the cash, shorting the company in the process.
Their employer became suspicious when bookkeepers began noticing discrepancies in their revenue.
The thieves were stealing from their employer, selling the avocados directly to customers and pocketing the cash. https://t.co/Cvcnc9nCqJ
By May, after customers started coming forward with concerns, Mission Produce alerted Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriffs were able to make their arrest thanks to surveillance footage that showed the avocado thieves at work. Sgt John Franchi told the Los Angeles Times, “We take these kinds of thefts seriously. It’s a big product here and in California.” Franchi added, “Everybody loves avocados.”
The three men are currently in jail on $250,000 bail.