A Santa Maria man is in custody after the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office says he stole more than $600 worth of avocados.
Deputies with the Sheriff’s Rural Crime Unit were called to Suey Ranch in Nipomo on Sunday.
The ranch manager told deputies that someone was trespassing on the property and possibly stealing avocados. The manager said he had noticed his fence was cut repeatedly over the past several weeks. He set up cameras and found someone was taking avocados from the property.
Deputies responded to the property, which is located in the 2400 block of Bull Canyon Road, and identified a suspect driving his car near the entrance gate.
When patrol units arrived, they say the suspect turned around and fled back onto the property.
The empty vehicle was discovered shortly after.
Deputies searched the area and found the suspect hiding in thick brush.
The sheriff’s office arrested Christian Lara Medrano, 37, of Santa Maria.
Deputies say they found a pair of metal snips for cutting wire and approximately 730 Hass avocados inside the vehicle.
The sheriff’s office says the avocados were worth about $620.
Investigators believe the avocados were sold to legitimate businesses and restaurants in the local area.
Medrano was booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of grand theft and trespassing.
The sheriff’s office says business owners should make sure they’re purchasing produce from reputable vendors or farmer’s markets.