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    4 arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of pounds of avocados from Fillmore farm


    Four people from Norwalk were arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of pounds of avocados from a Fillmore farm, authorities said.

    Deputies responded around 2:40 p.m. Sunday to the 3000 block of Telegraph Road following a report of stolen avocados, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.

    Authorities said a detailed description from the farm led to a traffic stop of the suspect vehicle.

    "A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of hundreds of pounds of stolen avocados," a news release from the sheriff's office said.

    The suspects have been identified as David Melchor, 18; Jesus Pozos, 23; Valentin Pozos, 33; and Epifania Pozos, 37. They were arrested on suspicion of agricultural grand theft, criminal conspiracy and trespassing, authorities said.

    The avocados were returned to the farm.

    Growers in the area told Eyewitness News it's not the first time thieves have gone after the popular fruit.

    EZE farm co-owner Dina Reisman said avocado crops can be good one year and not so good the next. However, this year's crop is very good, making it more profitable for farmers.

    The avocado industry in Ventura County is worth nearly $250 million annually.

    Hayden McIntyre's family owns Sierra Pacific Farms. They've been victimized by thieves at their Ventura County facility.

    "Four guys, three guys in the middle of the night will pull up on the side of the road at 2 o'clock in morning when everyone is asleep and pick a few hundred pounds and sell it on the cash market for $500, $600 bucks," McIntyre explained.

    Meanwhile, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office has set up what they call a Farm Watch program - a neighborhood watch for growers to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

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