The Great Grocery Getaway Of 2011

Its mid 2011, the economy is in free-fall mode and prices of commodities are continuing to rise with new records being set nearly every day it seems. This is the setting, and state of the country that can literally redefine certain words. Take value for example, what do you normally think of when talking about items of value? Money, jewels, antiques perhaps? What about produce? With escalating food prices combining with limited supplies due to bad weather in growing climates, thats exactly what screamed value to a group of grocery bandits that got away with $300,000 worth of stolen tomatoes, cucumbers, and frozen meat from producers in Florida.


E&A Transport Express registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in February. They got their insurance together, and began seeking out middle men known as trucking brokers to set up contracts for transport of produce in the state of Florida. Sounds legit, right? Thats exactly the point. E&A obtained contracts to pick up and deliver refrigerated truck loads of produce and frozen meat in Florida to be delivered as far as Portland, OR. By spacing out the pickups, and having destinations that were sometimes 4 day trips they pulled the biggest grocery heist ever.


Of course, the masterminds behind the great grocery getaway also have to thank the bull headedness of Florida law enforcement. The different loads were taken from different jurisdictions, and police units were slow to share information if they even cooperated at all. For example, the Florida Highway Patrol said that the Miami Dade Police Departments cargo theft unit was leading the investigation, but their spokesperson denied that the department was even aware of the theft.


As costs continue to rise it wouldnt be too surprising to see more stories like this cropping up. Selling stolen produce, whether to individuals or larger buyers is a whole world different than selling TVs out of the back of a van. The real problem here is much larger than the dollar amount of the stolen goods. Thefts like this are not in the name of good; make no mistake that this isnt Robin Hood stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Shipments this size can affect prices to the rest of the population and only contribute to a higher cost of living. However, Daniel Ocean would be proud.



The New York Times

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