Cheese Plant Employees Accused Of Cheese Theft Scheme

Wisconsin has over 600 varieties of cheese. ( Farm Journal Media )

About $50,000 worth of cheese was stolen from a California plant for two years, and two employees at the plant are facing charges.

Fox17 of West Michigan reports Leprino Foods Co. in Lemoore, Calif., named by Forbes as the world’s largest producer of mozzarella, started noticing cheese missing in 2017. An investigation opened Aug. 22, identified 24-year-old Jairo Mariano Osorio Alvarez and 34-year-old Roderick Domingo Ransom as suspects.

Authorities believe the cheese was sold door-to-door, on social media, in flea markets and on the street in four different counties in Southern California.

Ransom, who worked at the plant, is being held on suspicion of grand theft and embezzlement. Alvarez was booked on suspicion of being in possession of stolen property. The investigation is ongoing.

Corporal Osvaldo Maldonado, a detective for the City of Lemoore, told YourCentralValley.com other employees alerted authorities when they noticed Leprino cheese being sold online. 

“They found their stolen cheese on social media sites,” Maldonado said. “Every part of their cheese or cheese blocks is serialized, so they were able to see the serial number on their blocked cheese.”

The case is unusual for the City of Lemoore Police Department.

“Usually our search warrants are assigned for other things such as guns or drugs,” Maldonado said. “For us to come across an investigation that was very in-depth and very lengthy for cheese made some people kind of snicker and make some jokes.”

Meanwhile, leadership at Leprino Foods is thankful for everyone involved in the investigation.

In a Leprino Foods statement cited by YourCentralValley.com, Kim Devigil of Leprino Foods said, “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.”

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