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Avocado Shortage Spurs Crime Wave in New Zealand

Avocado Shortage Spurs Crime Wave in New Zealand

A band of thieves is on the loose in New Zealand and have been known to steal hordes of the precious green fruit

A deluge of avocado thefts? Guac’ a catastrophe!

Although Mexico is known as the avocado epicenter of the world, New Zealand has crept up in production lately. But increased demand and a poor crop last year have caused skyrocketing prices at NZ$4-6 ($2.80-4.20 USD) apiece and what’s worse, an avocado shortage.

The shortage has led to a peculiar crime pattern across the country: avocado thieves who are sneaking into orchards and plucking the unripe fruits off trees.

Since January, about 40 individual thefts have been reported across the country, with 350 avocados stolen each time. If you do the math, that’s a lot of guacamole. Likely, the thieves will sell the avocados at illegal fruit stands to make a quick buck. But buyers beware: The stolen avocados are likely to make you sick.

“They are unripe, some have been sprayed recently and they may still carry toxins on the skin. But with the prices so high at the moment, the potential for profit is a strong inducement for certain individuals,” local sergeant Aaron Fraser told the Guardian.

The avocado crop is expected to be plentiful this year. When supply and demand of avocados is balanced again, the thefts probably won’t be as much of an issue.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


Avocado shortage spurs mass thefts in New Zealand

Someone is stealing avocados in New Zealand. Not just picking a handful to make guacamole for a picnic, but driving up to orchards in the dark of night, using rakes to sweep hundreds from trees, collecting them in blankets and driving off to sell them illegally at road stands, grocery stores and small restaurants in Auckland, the country’s largest city, according to police.

The problem appears to be one of surging demand and short supply, avocado industry officials say. Traditionally, the soft green pears have been grown largely for export, but local consumers have been rapidly acquiring a taste for them — just as heavy rainfall in neighbouring Australia badly damaged last year’s harvest. As a result, the price has more than tripled, reaching as high as $4 per avocado ($6 in New Zealand dollars) and fuelling a spate of stealth robberies by enterprising thieves.

“It’s an easy way to make a quick buck, but I don’t think we are dealing with a sophisticated or highly organized operation here more — opportunistic,” Jen Scoular, chief executive officer of New Zealand’s avocado association, was quoted as saying in the Guardian on Wednesday. Officials said there have been dozens of thefts. In the most recent incident, police said, midnight bandits liberated 350 avocados from an orchard in the Bay of Plenty area on the country’s north island.

Police warned that anyone handling or eating the purloined pears may be facing a health risk, because those recently sprayed with pesticides could carry toxins on their skins. No violence or confrontations have been reported in connection with the crime wave, but Scoular said many growers are installing automatic light and alarm systems to protect their lucrative crops.

New Zealand is far better known for exporting apples and kiwis, and its avocado production is dwarfed by giants such as Mexico, which exports more than 1.3 million metric tons per year. But its avocados have been gaining popularity both at home and abroad, Scoular said, with Australia and the United States as the largest foreign customers and 96,000 new domestic households purchasing them last year.

She told the BBC that marketing the 𠇊mazingness of avocados,” as well as their health benefits, has created a demand the country cannot meet𠅊nd a ripe target for pear pinchers.

Correction – June 16, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that misstated the volume of avocados exported by Mexico.


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