Friday, February 10, 2006

Mushroom Rustlers

The LA Times reports that the Santa Barbara County Sheriff has made three arrests in connection to a ring of high-tech mushroom thieves from the Pacific Northwest who have been slipping into local ranches and stealing chanterelle mushrooms. These prized mushrooms grow wild in the oak woods in the north part of our county.

This has apparently been going on for almost ten years, and deputies have finally caught up with them. The thieves have used GPS units to record the locations of the most productive colonies of chanterelles and slip in at night during harvesting season to collect them. Then they were sold to gourmet restaurants.

One of the gentlemen was caught in the act as the report says, "with 28 to 30 pounds of chanterelles in the car. He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of trespassing and grand theft. Although the street value of the mushrooms was about $300, any theft of produce worth more than $100 is a felony in California."

I love how they refer to the "street value" of the mushrooms. His partner was arrested in a Lompoc motel, where he had several thousand dollars worth of mushrooms in his room.

What is this world coming to? Next time you order chanterelles in a restaurant, you better ask where they came from.

1 comment:

Matt Mullenix said...

Some mushrooms DO have "street value!" :-)