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By uncommon_sense

According to an article in, thieves are taking a toll on California’s nut farmers and stole over $500,000 of products last year. As you might imagine, the thieves are not walking up and asking nicely. According to the article: “‘We really have seen a lot more brazen thievery in the area
 in recent years. We’ve had field workers and employees that
 have just been accosted in the middle of the day by armed
 assailants,’ Tricia Stever Blattler, with the Tulare County
 Farm Bureau, said.” . . .

Unfortunately the politically correct “solution” to the problem doesn’t seem based in reality. 

… a newly formed task force is increasing awareness,
 posting warning signs and asking farmers and sellers to report
 anything suspicious.

“Our job is to advise local farmers how to … what we call ..
. harden the target — to prevent thefts from happening in the first
 place. And that means checking credentials, make sure you
 don’t leave the keys in your vehicles,” Fresno County Sheriff
 Margaret Mims said.

Seriously? Who thinks a warning sign is going to stop an armed thief from driving away with a quarter million dollars in agricultural products? But it was their idea of how to “harden the target” — verifying credentials and not leaving keys in vehicles — that should offend everyone.

Fortunately for those of us who love nuts (the food that is), the farmers themselves seem to know better. California farmer Barrett Blain had this to say:

“… most farmers I know generally have to carry some sort
 of protection.”

No one would think twice about armed guards transporting $20,000 in cash to a local bank. Are the people who handle a $250,000 harvest any less worthy? More importantly, I wonder if being a nut farmer or one of their employees constitutes “good cause” for a concealed weapon permit in Fresno County.

As thieves become more brazen and sophisticated, inevitably working in groups, I also wonder when people like nut farmers will truly need to carry long guns with them to protect their harvest, which represents an entire year’s income. As it stands, however, California considers citizens to be criminals if they carry loaded long guns in their vehicles, even if going unarmed could mean losing a year’s income — or their lives — to thieves. Apparently, that’s the price we have to pay for “safety”.

I have always heard that California is the land of fruits and nuts. I’m glad to learn that doesn’t apply to most of its farmers. It’s too bad we can’t say the same about California government.

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  1. “As it stands, however, California considers citizens to be criminals if they carry loaded long guns in their vehicles…” Since I would venture to bet at least some of the farmers are working on their own private property, does that law not apply to them? If I were to get arrested because I had a loaded rifle in my truck while driving on my own property, I would venture to bet I could find some investors to pay for a very profitable lawsuit.

    • Public roadways. No loaded rifles or shotguns. Go to the orchards around Manteca and in the central valley and the fields are criss crossed by public roads with no fencing. Farmers run trucks and machinery all along those public hi ways.

      The heavily farmed parts of the state are conservative red staters. Unfortunately LA and the bay area outnumber them heavily in votes.

      • N Cal has to split from Socal. They are way more similar to Washington and Oregon politicallty – i.e. not necessarily religious conservative, but libertarian-leaning and freedom minded in ways that LA and SFB will never be.

        • It’s never been a N. Cal vs. S. Cal thing. (other than water rights). It’s the coastal counties vs. everyone else.

          Down by Fresno and Bakersfield it’s more conservative than most of Idaho. They still have the John Birch society “Get US Out” billboards up.

  2. Okay, man with a gun tells you to give over your nuts. Does the bad guy get arrested for armed robbery and has to register as a sex offender?

    “He wanted my nuts, officer. No, means no.”

  3. Yeah Diane, the gun laws in Cali are working. Only thing is both in the cities or country, it’s working against the wrong people.

  4. I lived in CA for 14 years, so glad to be in CO now. I swear, if you could harness stupidity, CA could power the world.

  5. A friend of mine has 40 acres of almonds in Sanger, near Fresno. They have had problems mostly with guys coming and stealing gas out of their 500 gallon tank. He is usually riding around the farm on a Gator with a Mossberg 20 gauge and a .22 pistol. Best damn shot I know, I would hate to be the thief caught by him. Also dogs.

    • I’d be a terrible thief. Big dogs on the premises? That’ll keep me away every time. Plus there’s that conscience thing, which is a real pain in the ass.

  6. 6 acres in Los Angeles County. We have thieves at night that strip our fruit trees – cut the fruit right off. Hoping that LA County is forced to allow concealed carry – meaning that the 9th Circuit’s recent opinion is upheld.

  7. The politicians in Sac can still get their fresh produce, so they don’t care if they buy from farmers or thieves. Strangely, they do care a lot when the same thing happens with food imported from the 3rd world. Apparently they think South American coffee growers, African chocolate producers, etc are more valuable than local nut growers.

  8. Of course the thieves are doubly – nay triply! – bold because they’re sure (or think they are) that no one is going to shoot at them. Maddening.

  9. I guess you might say thieves are going “crazy” for their newest quarry. I hope those farmers get a chance to shoot them in the “testicles” for their crimes.

    • Not true. Private property is (mostly) still just private property–but it might be different in unfenced urban private property. there are two cases involving arrests of individuals for carrying concealed weapons, one in a fenced yard , the other in a driveway. The cases turned on what is, I guess you would call it, quasi-private property. If the owner has a right to exclude the public, then it is private property, but where it was an open driveway, not private property. (Frankly I think the lines these two LA cases draw are dead wrong, You should have the right to exclude anyone on your private property at any time, fenced or not; and hence one should have an unlimited right to carry firearms, concealed or not concealed.) I have a feeling that if this issue arose in a rural county, the result would be different; fence or not, you cannot pitch a tent in my yard, and I can make you leave or have you arrested.

  10. “Seriously? Who thinks a sign is going to stop an armed thief ?”
    Stupid right? well that is exactly what a few towns over from me is doing.
    There has been a string of armed robberies (liquor stores)in a certain part of town.
    This was the local pd solution ” we are going to provide stickers for store owners to put on the windows. To let the criminals know what will happen to them if they are involved in an armed robbery”. And to top it off it took a team to come up with this worthless plan.
    The pd was just telling the locals to comply with the criminals.
    Needless to say l was yelling at the tv during the news report.

  11. Open carry of loaded arms is allowed while out hunting, en route to hunting/fishing, while camping and in rural areas (in the context of working agricultural land).

    • So the progressives who are nuts, but have no nuts, think the people who grow nuts should just let folks steal the nuts, then they won’t have nuts any more and maybe will be driven nuts. Maybe it’s just an odd recruitment strategy.

      But if the farmers who grow the nuts want to keep their nuts, instead of going nuts, they should become gun nuts. Then they could tell the thieves and the progressive nuts: “nuts to you, no buts!”

  12. My dad has a farm and used to have similar problems
    (though more with thieves stealing fuel than produce).
    Solution: 1) set up a 400 yard range through the farm;
    2) practice weekly and leave targets around; 3) start
    a rumor that fertilizer prices are going up and your
    looking for cheap alternatives. Haven’t had so much
    as a trespasser in the last 5 years.

  13. If you see someone stealing your nuts, say something. Call Homeland Security or that cow Janet Napolitano or whatever nitwit is at the helm now. They should get there in time ……. perhaps about two hours after it mattered.

    Better yet, call Feinstein and see if she can tear herself away from her cocktail parties long enough to pretend to give a crap.

  14. In 1988 a Court case ruled that a convenience clerk could not carry a gun without a license to carry a concealed firearm. The next year the legislature amended the law with the express purpose of undoing that court decision

    CA penal code

    No permit or license to … carry, either openly or concealed, shall be required of any citizen of the United States or legal resident over the age of 18 years who resides or is temporarily within this state … who carries, either openly or concealed, anywhere within the citizen’s or legal resident’s place of residence, … or on private property owned or lawfully possessed by the citizen or legal resident any pistol, revolver, or other firearm
    capable of being concealed upon the person.

    • Oops.

      My comment above should have read like this:

      That is great for the private property owner while on their own property. It does absolutely nothing for employees on the owner’s property. (Perhaps there is a different “allowance” for employees on private property?) Even more importantly, it does absolutely nothing for the sorry sap who has to drive the truckload of agricultural products off of the owner’s private property onto public roadways to transport the products to a processing facility.

      Thieves hijack billions of dollars of products and merchandise from U.S. highways every year. Last time I checked, those are public roads and most states require concealed carry permission slips licenses to have a handgun in a vehicle on public roads … and most states prohibit anyone (whether or not they have a concealed carry license) from carrying a loaded long gun in a vehicle.

      This illustrates the real, tangible loss that good citizens incur in exchange for “public safety”.

      • Its private property, so carry away. Many gun ranges have open carry because they are private property. The owners of gun shops are usually pro-carry, and encourage their employees to pack heat. Some gun shops will not allow carry, which is a real head-scratcher.

        Ultimately, it’s up to the landowner, and perhaps their insurance policy.

  15. I mean, I guess it makes sense, because people will steal anything of value that isn’t nailed down, but nuts would have never seemed very thievable to me. A problem I never knew existed.

    • In Florida its oranges. They still have them down there don’t they? In cattle raising areas, its cows–all across the west. Lots of people out of work, lots of property theft. Go hand in hand. Up here in Northern California, its nuts and cows, but not fruits or vegetables. Or trees, sometimes. Burglary and auto theft are the biggies in the towns, largely do to the methheads.

      • I know my dad told me growing up that stopping on the side of the road to grab an orange out of a grove was theft. You’d probably never actually get in trouble for it, but that stuck with me. I’ve never heard of someone stealing a large amount, like a crate or a truckload.

        • Nuts got the headlines. But this is quite frequently an armed hi jacking with the employee being forced to hand over his load, truck and all at gunpoint.

    • As JWM mentioned above, the largest problem is thieves hijacking an entire truckload of nuts on public roads. The original article stated that nuts are worth something like $7 per pound. Well if you can hijack a truck with 10,000 pounds of nuts, that is a $70,000 payday … not to mention the value of the truck.

      I stated in a previous comment that thieves hijack several billion dollars worth of shipments on our highways every year. This is a big problem. Unfortunately, I fear that Big Brother will use this as justification to deploy armed TSA squads in large numbers on our highways.

  16. Farmers all over the country have to deal with this sort of crap.

    Farmers in the midwest have to worry about meth-heads tapping into their anhydrous tanks.

    Farmers in irrigation country have to worry about meth and crack heads ripping copper wiring off their pivots. Machinery gets stolen. I’ve been told by other farmers of having their tractors “sold” by someone putting a posting on eBay. These guys come out to the shop one morning, and someone is there with a semi truck and a low-boy, trying to load the tractor. Truck drive knows nothing other than he was told to come to this address and load tractor model “X.” What happened is that a scammer came by, took pictures, put up a posting and collected the money. Person who is out their money wants a tractor. Big cluster ensues, wasting many hours of the farmer’s time as a result.

    Crop theft happens all over the place, not just with nuts. The dollar amount changes, but the thievery does not. There’s cattle rustling to this day, but it happens with a dually and a trailer.

    The best asset a farmer can have is a real guard dog, or dogs, NB the plural. Most states will not allow you to use lethal force to protect property. But if a thief gets chewed up by a dog? And you had “guard dog” signs posted on your fence? That criminal’s complaint goes nowhere with the DA. Going through $80 of kibble in a week is cheap insurance.

    BTW, None of the dogs ever depicted here at TTAG need apply.


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