FRESNO (CBS SF) – Authorities in Fresno County have arrested a Sacramento-area man accused of stealing bees and beehives worth nearly $1 million.
According to a statement by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, deputies investigating a bee theft in neighboring Madera County arrested 51-year-old Pavel Tveretinov at an orchard in Fresno on April 28th. Authorities said he was tending to more than 100 hives that were reported stolen at the time of his arrest.
Following the arrest, investigators found more beehives at two other locations in Fresno County. More than 2,500 hives have been found so far, which have a value of about $875,000.
Investigators believe Tveretinov had stolen hives over the last three years throughout California and was renting out the bees to growers who were pollinating crops. The service is particularly popular among almond growers.
Some stolen hives belonged to out-of-state beekeepers who were renting out their bees, authorities said.
“Every colony of bees that I owned except for one. So I basically at the age of 56 had to start over from scratch. They totally put me out of business,” Montana beekeeper Lloyd Cunniff told CBS affiliate KGPE-TV.
Tveretinov was booked into the Madera County jail on suspicion of possessing stolen property. He has since been released on bail.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office at 559-600-3111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.