Thieves pose as truck drivers in “highly sophisticated” nut heist

Two men are awaiting trial after allegedly posing as truck drivers at a nut distribution center and attempting to steal $200,000 worth of pistachios. 

The attempted robbery occurred on July 15th, 2020 in Bakersfield, California. 

According to the Capital Press, 32-year-old Arman Karapetyan, and 30-year-old Manuk Aghajanyan showed up to an almond and pistachio distribution center with a stolen semi truck and posed as truck drivers in a theft technique detectives called fictitious pickup, which they described as “highly sophisticated.”

Detectives say the two men found real truck drivers on Facebook and used their names. The two printed realistic-looking stickers for the trucks and created forged paperwork, all while using pre-paid burner cell phones. 

However, thanks to training for growers and processors over the last few years, the company was able to identify that something wasn’t quite right, and Karapetyan and Aghajanyan were not given the load of pistachios. 

“Some of the info didn’t check, so the drivers left without the load,” said Roger Isom, CEO and president of the Western Agricultural Processors Association.

The company then called the police and the two attempted robbers fled the scene, leading officers on a brief chase along Interstate 5.

Now, Karapetyan and Aghajanyan await trial at the end of November and are facing charges of grand cargo theft and possession of a stolen vehicle.

But Kern County Sheriff’s Office Detective, Tanner Miller, says that businesses shouldn’t “get lax” around the holidays. 

“Growers should stay on the alert,” he said.