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Avocado Thieves Hit San Diego County Growers

San Diego County Farm Bureau Executive Director Eric Larson said avocado theft has been going about as long as farmers have been growing the fruit.

Avocado grove in Fallbrook, California.
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Above: Avocado grove in Fallbrook, California.

"But it peaks when the price of avocados is high," said Larson. "So when they become more valuable the thieves are more inclined to steal the fruit. And we're having record prices this year, so I think it's a bigger problem this year than we've seen in many past years."

Larson said avocado theft has gotten so bad, the California Avocado Commission has increased its reward to $5,000 for information leading to a felony arrest and conviction.

"I would say in the peak of the season we're losing between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds of fruit a week over a period of several months," Larson said. "So it's a substantial number, it's a lot of fruit being stolen out of the avocado groves."

He said farmers lose several hundred-thousand dollars worth of avocados due to theft each season.

California's $275 million avocado industry produces about 90 percent of the nation's avocado crop. More than half of the state's avocado crop comes from San Diego and Riverside counties.

Avocados are the top food crop produced in San Diego County.

An avocado theft reporting hotline is available via email at or phone at (949) 754-0733.

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Avatar for user 'lemonsherbert'

lemonsherbert | June 9, 2011 at 8:04 p.m. ― 5 years, 9 months ago

This has been going on for years. Do I dare say who are the ones who do the stealing? I think we all know who they are. As long as this industry underpays the workers, this will all ways be what happens. One can drive all over our county and see many avocado stands along with other fruit and flowers. Maybe they should get some dogs out in the field to chase these folks away. This is one more reason not to embrace illegals working here. But its the industry's own fault for illegally hireing them in the first place. It's rather funny really, the industry hires illegal to make more profit and now they lose that because of the ones that work for them stealing from them. Oh what a tangled web one can weave. This is not a difficult thing to figure out.

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