80,000 Pounds Of Walnuts Stolen In California

As the Northeast hunkered down in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, authorities on the West Coast were embroiled in a seriously nutty mystery: the disappearance of 80,000 pounds of walnuts, stolen in two installments, from Northern California.

According to the Associated Press, the walnuts were first reported missing Friday by workers at a freight brokerage firm. Workers called the Tehama County Sheriff's Office to say that a truckload of walnuts, purchased by Seattle company F.C. Bloxom and Co., never reached their destination in Miami.

The incident was then matched to a similar theft a few days earlier. A heist on Oct. 23 involved 40,000 pounds of walnuts, which were picked up in Los Molinos, Calif., but never arrived in Texas, where they were expected, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth notes.

According to the Redding Searchlight, authorities believe the two crimes could be the work of the same individual-- a "suspicious delivery driver" with a tall build and strong Russian accent.

The trucking company, hired by San Antonio-based Hill Country Bakery, helped deputies figure out the man who took receipt of the nuts was actually an imposter, albeit a prepared one: The delivery man had managed to secure the correct purchase numbers for the walnuts.

The man is said to be 6 feet 2 inches tall and driving a white semi. The 80,000 pounds of walnuts were valued at about $300,000.

Food thefts, though not quite as flashy as say, diamond thefts, have been in the news recently. In late August, some sticky-fingered thieves up north stole several millions dollars worth of maple syrup from a secure warehouse in Quebec, Canada.

The valuable stolen syrup was recovered earlier this month in New Brunswick, however, where it was put under police protection, pending further investigation.