2 Immokalee men arrested in tomato theft

CREATED Dec. 16, 2013

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  • Augustin Salas Ortiz

  • Augustin Salas Ortiz

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Charlotte County deputies arrested two Immokalee men Sunday after they tried to drive away from a Punta Gorda farm with a truck full of almost $8,000 worth of tomatoes and crates.

Deputies were called to Williams Farm located on Neal Road in eastern Charlotte County after the farm owner caught up with a farm truck that had left his farm without unloading their cargo of tomatoes. 

According to witnesses, J. Jesus Bustamante-Rodriguez, 53, the driver of the truck, and Agustin Salas Ortiz, 24, his passenger, left the farm property with six pallets of tomatoes and one pallet of empty tomato boxes. 

It was estimated that there were about 13,000 tomatoes, worth almost $5,500, in the truck.  The crates were valued at more than $2,000.
 
Both Bustamante-Rodriguez and Ortiz were charged with coordinating the theft of farm produce or equipment valued at $3000 or More.  Both men were released after posting a $3,500 bond.