An alert off-duty policeman spotted a suspicious car in the Jordan Valley, and a closer inspection revealed 180 kilograms (400 pounds) of avocados suspected to have been pilfered from a nearby orchard, police said Sunday.
Despite being on vacation, the eagle-eyed cop, who was driving home with his wife, spotted the suspect parked on the side of the road. After he submitted a report to a nearby police station, officers stopped the vehicle for inspection and discovered the hot fruit.
The suspect, a 50-year-old resident of the nearby town of Tuba, was detained and police located the owner of the grove to report the theft and returned the fruit to him.
The unidentified man was released after interrogation while the evidence was being processed ahead of a possible criminal indictment.
According to produce exporter Carmel Agrexco, Israel markets seven strains of avocado, which are in season from roughly October to May. The stolen fruit had a retail value of about NIS 1,800 ($500).
The World’s Top Exports website ranked Israel tenth in the world’s $4 billion avocado export market with almost $65 million of the fruit shipped abroad in 2017.
Mexico is the world’s top exporter and the United States is its number one customer, but that market is under a cloud due to a recent threat by US President Donald Trump to close America’s border over immigration issues.
Although Trump backed down on the border closer, avocado prices have soared in the US as a result of the ongoing spat with its southern neighbor.
AP contributed to this article.