MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A 35-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly stealing an almond shaker several times, officials from the Merced County District Attorney’s Office said.
DA’s office investigators say they received a call on Dec. 19, 2022, from a local farmer reporting the theft of a COE S7 Almond Shaker. After investigators met with the farmer, the almond shaker was located and recovered the same morning.
The next morning on Dec. 20, 2022, the same farmer contacted the authorities to report the machine was stolen again; it was located later that day. The farmer and Merced County DA’s Office investigators met and put a plan together in case the suspect stole the shaker for the third time in a row, according to the authorities.
On Dec. 21, 2022, around 04:00 a.m., the almond shaker was stolen again, but officials say they were ready this time and with the assistance of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, the stolen piece of equipment was discovered and 35-year-old Rafael Herrera was driving it through an orchard.
Officials say Herrera took off running when deputies from the Merced County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop him. They were able to take him into custody after what authorities called a short foot chase.
Herrera was later booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of grand theft (when someone steals property or services worth more than $950.)
On Jan. 5, 2023, Herrera pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison, court documents say.