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San Joaquin Police Arrest Two For Stealing $400,000 in Walnuts

It seems a little nutty at first, but it's true.

San Joaquin Sheriff's Department officials have confirmed that two area residents have been arrested and booked for grand theft walnut.

A judge issued arrest warrant for Pedro Becerra and Mario Oheda after an investigation showed they may be responsible for pilfering more than $400,000 of the hard-shelled snacks from a local orchard.

Police further believe one of the now defendants is responsible for the theft of two tankers from the city of Modesto.

So how did they pull off the crime to begin with?  Authorities say the walnuts had already been harvested and were loaded into the trailers of semi-trucks.

In total, more than 140,000 pounds had been loaded and were set to be taken to a processing facility.

At some point, the pair reportedly encountered the transport vehicles and decided to run off with them.  Police have not said whether the semi-trucks have been recovered, nor have they said if the walnuts have been recovered.   It is, however, believed they were sold on the black market for a hefty price.

California law enforcement officials say that grand-theft nut crimes have been on the rise in recent years due to increased demand.  Nut growers have since formed a task force in hopes of protecting their crops.