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Sheriff helping with milk crate recovery

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Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christanson is helping a Modesto milk producer to recover stolen milk crates and to apprehend and prosecute the likely suspects. Christanson has committed himself to helping the Crystal Creamery, a Modesto dairy producer, to launch and implement its milk crate theft curtailment program, according to The Modesto Bee on Friday.

Christanson, who was just re-elected as the Sheriff of Stanislaus County of which Modesto is the county seat, has promised the Crystal Creamery, as well as all other dairies and milk producers, that he will assist in catching and prosecuting those who are involved in agricultural crime such as the theft of milk crates.

According to Ed Begoun, who is the sales and marketing vice-president at the Crystal Creamery, thefts of milk crates have increased markedly because of the rising value of scrap plastic and the ever escalating costs of the petroleum used to make the crates.

Although Begoun mainly is seeking the large scale thieves who are stealing the crates, he does not hesitate to point out that that all milk crate theft, even that of only one crate, is illegal and can be prosecuted under the law. Reportedly the theft of milk crates costs the dairy industry over $80 million annually. This is a serious number considering the fact that in agribusiness, profit margins are very slim even in the best of times. Ultimately the costs are passed onto consumers and this increases inflation and economic instability on a more widespread scale. Insurance claims result in higher premiums and this causes smaller dairies and milk producers to suffer hardship just to make ends meet.

Christanson pointed out that the crates are being stolen by drug addicts who are trying to raise enough money to buy drugs. He has assigned detectives to investigate the problem and apprehend the perpetrators.

In this commentator's opinion, Sheriff Christanson is to be commended for his efforts to deal with this problem and to protect agribusiness from further loss. It is nice and refreshing when a local sheriff takes the initiative and watches out for the interests of his constituents.

If you know of anyone who is stealing and/or selling milk crates, please call the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office at 209-552-2468. You will be helping to keep food costs down and protecting the interests of your community.

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