VISALIA, Calif. — In what could be called the “Great Pistachio Caper of 2020,” detectives with California’s Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) recovered stolen pistachios and trailers valued at more than $300,000.
According to an Aug. 26 Facebook post by TCSO, around noon Aug. 14, detectives with the department’s ag unit were called to Setton Pistachio, a food-processing company in Terra Bella, California, to investigate a possible cargo theft.
Upon arrival at the company, detectives learned that the suspects posed as representatives of a legitimate trucking company, using the company name to secure contracts for the delivery of two tractor-trailer loads of pistachios valued at more than $294,000. Instead of delivering the product to the intended recipients, however, the suspects took the pistachios to an abandoned property in Selma, California, where they removed the nuts from the packaging. They then sold the product to an unsuspecting buyer in Madera County, California.
As the investigation unfolded, detective discovered that the suspects had 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.
Unfortunately for the perpetrators, those trailers were equipped with real time GPS. When ag unit detectives alerted the owner of the trucking company to the thefts, they were able to track down the suspects —in addition to all the pistachios and the two stolen trailers.
The crime scenes in the case spanned three counties. With help from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno Police Department and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, TCSO detectives identified 23-year-old Bhavna Singh Sekon of Fresno, California, as one of the people responsible for the theft.
Sekon was found at his home, taken into custody and booked into the Tulare County Pre-Trial Facility on charges of grand theft, looting, identity theft and conspiracy. Additional arrests are anticipated. Additional evidence linking Sekon to the thefts was found at his house.
In total, TCSO detectives recovered $294,000 in pistachios and $60,000 in trailers.
Anyone with information on this case is urged to contact TCSO’s Detective Bryan De Haan or Sgt. Bryan Clower at the sheriff’s department by calling 800-808-0488, or via text or voicemail at 559-725-4194. Tips can also be submitted via email at [email protected].
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.