Pauline MakHave you seen this walnut?

It is a crime to steal, and, although we don’t think of this often, it is a crime to steal walnuts. Which is why law enforcement officials are on the hunt to find a man who stole not one but two loads of walnuts from a freight brokerage firm in Los Molinos, Calif. The first theft took place on Oct. 23, and involved about 40,000 pounds of walnuts, which were on their way to Texas. The second took place a few days later, bringing the total to 80,000 pounds of nuts that never made it to their final destination in Miami.

This walnut thief is not just some run-of-the-mill walnut lover who strides up to people who happen to have a lot of walnuts, pulls out a gun, and says, “Give me all your walnuts.” No, the man in question — who is supposed to be tall with a Russian accent and driving a white semi — is actually pulling off a complicated walnut heist, complete with disguises and inside information. He’s been posing as a walnut delivery driver, and has been able to access the correct purchase numbers for the walnuts. So he just drove away with them.

Food thefts, while not terribly cinematic, are still common. Someone recently stole a bunch of maple syrup — though it was recovered. And although a food heist seems a lot sillier than an art theft or a bank robbery, the financial stakes are pretty high. The combined value of these two shipments of walnuts is about half a million dollars. Though, how does one unload stolen nuts? Is the dude going to sell them in bags at stoplights?

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!