From the New York Times:
While other states have their own agricultural intrigue — cattle rustlers in Texas, tomato takers in Florida — few areas can claim a wider variety of farm felons than California, where ambushes on everything from almonds to beehives have been reported in recent years. Then there is the hardware: diesel fuel, tools and truck batteries regularly disappear in the Central Valley, the state’s agricultural powerhouse, where high unemployment, foreclosures and methamphetamine abuse have made criminals more desperate, officials say.
Nor are the crimes limited to poorer areas; in Napa County, where fans of the good life flock for the wine and warm weather, the police set up a tip line in June to combat a raft of thefts, including solar panels at some vineyards.
Not even insects are immune. In Madera County, about 130 miles east of San Francisco, officials saw a rash of bee burglaries this year, as a shortage of able-bodied pollinators drove up the price. “They’d just go in there and they smoke the bees, sedate them and take them,” Sheriff John Anderson said. “And they wear protective gear just like the pros.”
For more, see: Farm Thieves Target Grapes, and Even Bees