1 caught, 2nd wanted in 3-ton watermelon theft

Brad Taylor, left, and Billy Traverso in undated photos released by the Beaverton Police Department, June 18, 2013
Brad Taylor, left, and Billy Traverso in undated photos released by the Beaverton Police Department, June 18, 2013

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — One of two men being sought for allegedly stealing tons of watermelons from two Winco stores earlier in June has been caught Tuesday.

Witness descriptions and video surveillance led police to accuse Brad Taylor, 40, and Billy Traverso, 42, of the thefts.

A Winco employee on Cedar Hills Boulevard called police to report six pallets of watermelons — weighing 5,784 pounds — had been stolen earlier this month. A few hours earlier, another 11 pallets of watermelons were stolen from the Tigard Winco store.

William “Billy” Traverso was arrested Tuesday at his parent’s residence. Their home is on SW Meedy Road in Clackamas County, according to the sheriff’s office.

His arrest comes after five of the stolen pallets were recovered from the Stoller Farm in Aurora, Ore. Paul Stoller of Stoller Farms reportedly contacted police after Taylor dropped of those pallets.

Taylor, from Molalla, is not yet in custody. He was employed at one time delivering watermelons, according to police. They believe he and Traverso stole the 17 pallets of watermelons with the intent to sell the fruit.

Both Beaverton and Tigard police are investigating the case.

As of Tuesday night, “Beaverton Detectives are on the way to the Clackamas County sheriff’s office to take custody of Traverso,” according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Detectives said the stolen fruit weighed nearly 3 tons and is worth around $7,000.

 

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