Stolen Snow Crab Turns Up in California

A load of frozen snow crab heisted late last year when the truck driver disappeared en route to the Northeast was recovered last week, says Duane Hilghman, president and CEO of Service Transport, the Hurlock, Md., transportation broker that hired the driver.

Of the 550 cases of snow crab valued at $60,000, 520 cases were found. But the rest of the $145,000 truckload, including 405 cases of frozen shrimp and 289 cases of frozen tuna steaks, has not been recovered, he says.

Ocean Green Seafood of Vernon, Calif., Sunnyvale Seafood of San Jose, Calif., and International Marine of Hayward, Calif., were found in possession of the stolen snow crab, says Hilghman.

The snow crab is owned by Expack Seafood of Woodbridge, N.J., while the shrimp is owned by Orient Fisheries of Los Angeles and the tuna by Everfresh Seafood Co. of South El Monte, Calif. The snow crab is currently being inspected and repackaged at a Los Angeles cold-storage warehouse so it can be returned to the owner and resold.

The Los Angeles Police Department's cargo-theft division, which is investigating the case, followed up on a lead after Expack recognized its product in a blast fax it received from Ocean Green, says Hilghman. The snow crab was priced 40 cents a pound below market value, he notes.

The independent Glendale, Calif., truck driver, Arman Ter-Vardanyan, a 5-foot-6-inch, 170-pound caucasian man with brown hair and eyes, has not turned up, adds Hilghman. Ter-Vardanyan picked up the shipment without incident at several Los Angeles cold-storage warehouses on Nov. 29 and was due to deliver it to Philadelphia and Perth Amboy and Elizabeth, N.J., by Dec. 12. The driver called Service Transport on Dec. 11 to report he was on schedule, then disappeared.

The deductible cost Service Transport $20,000, and the company's insurance rate has increased significantly due to the theft, says Hilghman.


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