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Man Charged Over Nutty Heist

( – California is the United States’ leading producer of tree nuts. The climate in the Golden State makes it ideal for growing nearly 90% of America’s nuts. That also means it’s an ideal target for thieves who want to sell them on the black market. Recently, a man was caught trying to do just that. 

In June, Touchstone Pistachio Company was doing an audit when something went wrong. The company noticed 42,000 pounds of nuts were missing. According to the Sacramento Bee, the company contacted the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TSCO) to look into the case of the missing nuts. The day after officers began investigating they found one of the company’s tractor-trailers was moved to a different location. 

When the sheriff’s deputies opened the vehicle, they found the missing nuts being repackaged from their original 2,000-pound bags to smaller ones. Alberto Montemayor, 34, was allegedly trying to resell them. 

Authorities report this is a growing problem in the state, and it’s not the first time this particular sheriff’s department has dealt with nut theft. In August 2020, cops arrested a 23-year-old for allegedly stealing 2 truckloads of pistachios valued at $294,000. In July of that same year, Kern County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two men who posed as truck drivers and stole shipments. 

The nut industry is worth billions of dollars and law enforcement officials say it’s a popular target because of how easy it is to resell the products. From 2014 through 2017, more than $7.6 million was lost due to theft. It looks like that number has continued to grow.

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