Police thwart theft of half a ton of chickpeas in southern Israel
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Police thwart theft of half a ton of chickpeas in southern Israel

Crop said to have been taken from fields of Kibbutz Nahal Oz; Bedouin suspect arrested

A vehicle loaded with about half a ton of stolen chickpeas, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on July 21, 2019. (Israel Police)
A vehicle loaded with about half a ton of stolen chickpeas, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz on July 21, 2019. (Israel Police)

Police said Sunday that a man was arrested on suspicion of attempting to steal about half a ton of chickpeas from crop fields in southern Israel.

The suspect, a member of the Bedouin community in his 30s, has been taken for questioning.

According to the statement, the police received a call about a suspicious vehicle fleeing the area of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, near the Gaza Strip.

Border Police forces in the area then launched a search and found the car abandoned and loaded with a large quantity of chickpeas, the statement said, adding that the crop was likely stolen from the agricultural fields in the area of Nahal Oz.

They then made more searches and arrested the suspect.

The police have been accused in recent years of failing to take sufficient action against agricultural crime, mainly in the north, where fields are regularly torched when farmers refuse to pay protection money to criminal organizations.

Police said in a statement Sunday that resources have been invested in fighting that phenomenon and that since the beginning of 2019 there has been a 27 percent decrease in the number of criminal cases opened compared to the equivalent period last year.

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