Vegetable Bandits Are a Thing Now

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They might not actually wear bandit hats. Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

We've talked plenty about the rising costs of food, but now veggies have entered the same rarefied world as jewels: They're theft fodder. According to the New York Times, a "ring of sophisticated vegetable bandits" is on the loose, stealin' ur tomatoes! Well, stealing loads of tomatoes and cucumbers from trucking companies, anyway.

According to the story, the crooks set up a fake trucking company, then watched as produce prices rose while simultaneously keeping an eye on truck brokerage sites — which "connect trucking companies with the loads they need carried" — just waiting for the moment when prices were highest and they could strike. "It was like a snake in the grass," said one of the victims.

But if you've seen any movie about high-stakes thieving, you know the hardest part isn't stealing the cargo, it's unloading it. Not to worry: "Brokers and shippers suspect the thieves had a buyer for the produce." Okay, so clue No. 1: It's not just a bunch of guys who really like eating salad.

Sounds like these dudes will probably be loose for a while, since even the Times can't help but get a dig in at the authorities handling the case: "Interviews with several police departments in Florida revealed an investigation that might be lacking coordination."

Price of Tomatoes Has a Lot to Do With These Thefts [NYT]