One arrested, one at large in The Great Watermelon Heist of 2013

One arrested, one at large in The Great Watermelon Heist of 2013
William "Billy" Traverso (left) and Brad Taylor

BEAVERTON, Ore. - How exactly does one sell several tons of stolen watermelons?

Police in Beaverton and Tigard are hoping to ask that very question of Molalla’s Brad Taylor and Canby’s William "Billy" Traverso after two grocery stores were robbed earlier this month.

At 8:30 a.m. on June 7, police responded to a report that six pallets of watermelons weighing 5,784 pounds had been stolen by two men from the Winco on Cedar Hills Blvd. in Beaverton.

An employee had confronted the two suspects at about 4 a.m., and went to find a supervisor. By the time the employee and supervisor returned, the suspects and watermelons were gone.

The employee’s description of the men and their truck, along with the store’s security camera, helped police identify the two suspects as Taylor and Traverso, according to a police spokesman.

During the course of the investigation, police learned 11 more pallets of watermelons had been stolen at about 1:40 a.m. that same morning from a Winco in Tigard.

Five pallets have been recovered from a storage building in Aurora, Ore. Police say Paul Stoller of Stoller Farms contacted them after Taylor dropped the watermelons off.

Taylor once held a job delivering watermelons, so police believe the two intended to sell them off. The total value? About $7,000.

 

Winco picked up the recovered melons, but won't sell them.

If you any have information on the location of either of the suspects, contact the Beaverton Police Department at (503) 629-0111.