California police have arrested a man who they say was involved in a complicated scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of nuts.
Twenty-three year old Fresno resident Bhavna Singh Sekon has been arrested and faces charges of Grand Theft, Looting, Identity Theft and Conspiracy, according to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
The arrest comes after an investigation that was launched August 14 when officers were dispatched to “Setton Pistachio” in Terra Bella for a possible cargo theft.
Investigators soon discovered that suspects had stolen the identity of a legitimate trucking company, then used that company’s name to secure contracts for the delivery of two tractor- trailer loads of pistachios, worth more than $294,000.
Police say that the suspects then took the pistachios to an abandoned property in Selma, removed the packaging, and sold the nuts to an unsuspecting buyer.
“As this investigation unfolded, Detective learned the suspects developed an elaborate scheme to carry out their plan. The scheme included the suspects using a semi-truck and stealing two trailers from a Fresno business. Those trailers were equipped with real time GPS. When Ag Detectives contacted the owner of the company and told them about the thefts, they were able to track down the suspects, as well as all of the pistachios and the stolen trailers,” the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said.
In total, police say that they recovered recovered $294,000 in pistachios and $60,000 in trailers.
Investigators say that more arrests are likely in the cargo theft scheme.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, Fresno Police Department, and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Bryan De Haan or Sgt. Bryan Clower at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-808-0488 or anonymously at [email protected].
Similar schemes targeting walnut farmers in the Central Valley have resulted in millions of dollars worth of loss in recent years.