Third melon theft suspect sought

Several watermelon pallets recovered in Aurora, Ore., after being stolen from two WinCo stores in Beaverton and Tigard on June 7, 2013. Three suspects have been identified in the case. (Beaverton Police Department)
Several watermelon pallets recovered in Aurora, Ore., after being stolen from two WinCo stores in Beaverton and Tigard on June 7, 2013. Three suspects have been identified in the case. (Beaverton Police Department)

BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) –- Police are searching for a third suspect wanted in the theft of several watermelon pallets from two WinCo stores in Beaverton and Tigard earlier this month.

46-year-old Gregory John Bennett is one of three men suspected in the theft of several watermelon pallets on June 7, 2013, from two WinCo stores in Beaverton and Tigard. (Beaverton Police Department)
46-year-old Gregory John Bennett  (Beaverton Police Department)

He was identified Wednesday as 46-year-old Gregory John Bennett.

On Tuesday, 42-year-old William “Billy” J. Traverso of Canby was arrested at his parent’s Clackamas County home. Investigators are also looking for 40-year-old Brad A. Taylor of Molalla.

According to Beaverton police, in the early morning hours of June 7, an estimated 17 watermelon pallets, valued at about $7,000, were stolen from the two stores. An employee at the Beaverton store, located on Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard, reportedly caught two men in the act of stealing the watermelons. However, the suspects escaped before the employee could contact a supervisor.

Using witness accounts and surveillance video, police identified the men as Traverso and Taylor. They later identified Bennett as the getaway driver.

Taylor reportedly dropped off five of the stolen pallets at Stoller Farms in Aurora. Paul Stoller of Stoller Farms contacted police after the pallets were dropped off.

Detectives learned that Taylor was once employed delivering watermelons, and believe the men intended to sell all the stolen pallets.

If you any have information on the whereabouts of Bennett or Taylor, call 503-629-0111.

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