The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said on Friday that 28-year-old Carlos Chavez and 30-year-old Rahim Leblanc, both of Oxnard, along with 38-year-old Joseph Valenzuela of Santa Paula have been arrested on charges of Grand Theft for the $300,000 worth of avocados allegedly stolen by the men.

Grand theft avocado charge for three produce workers

All three men work for Mission Produce in Ventura County and are suspected of stealing the avocados, worth around $300,000, for resale purposes. Ventura County Sergeant John Franchi told the media that everyone loves avocados and that police take this kind of theft very seriously.

The Los Angeles Times reports that officials began investigating the suspects back in May after Mission Produce’s president, Steve Barnard, received a tip off relating to possible thefts via both surveillance video footage and their customers.

Officials suspect the three men have been selling the stolen avocados for several months and are yet to determine exactly how many avocados were actually stolen from the company.

Suspects may have been selling avocados to their employer’s customers

Police said in a press statement that officials believe the suspects may have been selling the avocados to customers of Mission Produce who believed they were buying them from the original source. The three suspects, Chavez, Leblanc and Valenzuela, were allegedly selling them from an Oxnard ripening facility owned by the company.

According to Barnard, the company is among the largest distributors of avocados in the world and normally sells a box of the fruit for $50. However, they believe the three suspects had been selling the avocados at around $20-$30 a box, way below the market price.

Top Videos of the Day

Avocado shortage leads to skyrocketing prices

According to a report by SFGate, prices of avocados have recently skyrocketed after crops in both California and Mexico have been unable to meet the worldwide demand for the popular fruit. SFGate reported about the shortage of avocados in May this year, which reportedly happened just in time for Cinco de Mayo and the consequently much-needed guacamole. While the avocados are running short, the U.S. consumption per person of the fruit had reportedly increased from 1.1 pounds back in 1989 up to seven pounds in 2014.

While the avocados are running short, the U.S. consumption per person of the fruit had reportedly increased from 1.1 pounds back in 1989 up to seven pounds in 2014.

Meanwhile, after their arrest on Wednesday, the three suspects in the grand avocado heist are being held in Ventura County Jail on bonds of $250,000 each.