Thieves Cash In On Food Price Hikes


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Climbing food prices have prompted produce theft in the U.S.

According to a recent story in The New York Times, a team of “vegetable bandits” have stolen six tractor-trailer loads of tomatoes and a truck full of cucumbers from Florida growers, along with a substantial quantity of frozen meat. The thefts came fast on the heels of substantial hikes to Florida produce prices.

“I’ve never experienced people targeting produce loads before,” Shaun Leiker, an assistant manager at Allen Lund, a trucking broker in Oviedo, Fla., targeted by thieves, told The Times. “It’s a little different than selling TVs off the back of your truck.”

Master Cpl. David Vincent of the Florida Highway Patrol’s cargo theft task force told The Times authorities believe the thefts are being carried out by a fake Miami-based trucking company called E&A Transport — a company that was registered shortly before the robberies began. “They were just sitting and waiting, watching the produce because they knew it was climbing,” Clifford Holland, the owner of the transportation brokerage firm Old North State, told the newspaper. “It was like a snake in the grass and they struck.”

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