Authorities say sophisticated criminal organizations are stealing more of California's high-valued nut crops than ever before.
The shipping alliance CargoNet reports that in 2015 nut thefts hit an all-time high in California of 31 cases with losses totaling $4.6 million. Over the last four years, such thefts totaled nearly $7.6 million.
California leads the nation in production of almonds, walnuts and pistachios.
The FBI's Dan Bryant says crime rings with international ties are taking advantage of the weaknesses in the shipping industry to profit on the booming crops.
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux says he's alarmed by a spree of nut thefts; he's expanded his ag-crimes unit to combat it.
Todd Crosswell of Caro Nut Co. in Fresno says six times last year thieves stole cashew shipments worth $1.2 million.