Blue Bell holiday flavors return to store shelves
Two men were arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing and reselling tens of thousands of dollars worth of cheese.
Police said 24-year-old Jairo Alvarez and 34-year-old Roderick Ransom took and tried to resell more than 40,000 pounds of product from Leprino Foods plant on Belle Haven Drive.
Detective Cpl. Osvaldo Maldonado said the stolen product was being sold from Fresno County all the way to Riverside County.
Maldonado said the investigation began in August.
"(Leprino employees) said that they found their stolen cheese on social media sites," he said "every part of their cheese, the cheese blocks, is serialized, so they were able to see the serial number on their block cheese."
He said Ransom worked for the company when he stole more than $50,000 worth of shredded and block mozzarella, and his partner Alvarez was allegedly storing the goods for resale.
Detectives said it was also sold on the streets, door to door and in flea markets. Maldonado said officers served search warrants for websites, phones and houses. They also talked to vendors who purchased cheese from the suspects and were eventually able to tie the two men to the crime.
Leprino representatives said they could not comment on the ongoing investigation, but sent a statement reading:
"We appreciate and thank the Lemoore police department for their professional handling of this investigation and for their service to our community. We are saddened that one of our own employees may have been involved."
Both men face felony charges. Alvarez was booked for being in possession of stolen property, and Ransom was booked for grand theft and embezzlement. Maldonado said Ransom may have been stealing from the company from as far back as 2016.
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