Increased theft is costing Glenn County farmer thousands of dollars

Billions of dollars churn through our region thanks to agriculture. In Glenn County, some farmers say that economic success is causing another issue, theft.

Posted: Feb 27, 2020 7:21 AM
Updated: Feb 27, 2020 8:11 AM

GLENN COUNTY, Calif. - Billions of dollars churn through our region thanks to agriculture. In Glenn County, some farmers say that economic success is causing another issue, theft.

In Glenn County alone, agriculture generates $1.3 billion a year.

Action News Now talked to one farmer in Orland, Mike Vereschagin. who said thieves are making his job even harder.

"It’s really frustrating and heartbreaking when this happens, we're working hard," said Vereschagin.

Vereschagin said he is fed up with people stealing property from his farm.

"Our biggest issue we've had here in our farm has been diesel thefts, we've got a number of pumping plants for pumping the irrigation water," Vereschagin said.

That water is crucial to growing more than 1,000 acres of almond trees.

Vereschagin told Action News Now that thieves have also siphoned red diesel fuel from a tank that fuel powers all his equipment.

"It doesn't make a difference if we lock up the tanks," Vereschagin said. "The pad is locked up and they're busting the padlocks. Locks only keep the honest thieves away."

Action News Now checked data from the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office- there were 25 thefts in Glenn County for 2017, it increased to 48 by 2018 and then dropped to 25 in 2019. 

Action News Now asked the Glenn County Sheriff's Office what thieves are exactly stealing.

"Things ranging from fuel theft, tractors, their implements, UTVs, ATVs," said Jon Owens, a sergeant from the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office.

Glenn County's Agricultural Commissioner Marcie Skelton is all too familiar with the theft pattern.

"It could completely wipe out their ability to farm and that new investment needs to be made," Skelton said.

Skelton said farmers losing product and money could trickle down to all of us.

"With those incurred additional costs you could possibly see it in the grocery store which will impact how much you pay," Skelton said.

"If we have a loss we can't say to our buyer oh we need a couple of cents a pound for our product because we had stuff stolen. We got to absorb the loss," Vereschagin said.

Vereschagin told Action News Now thieves have taken more than $24,000 of fuel alone.

Vereschagin said in some cases the thieves have been bold enough to make off with product in broad daylight.

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