The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Beware! Though Cucumber Thief Arrested, Accomplice Still at Large

Guard your sea cucumbers and ginseng, ladies and gentlemen! Though serial cucumber thief and master getaway driver Man Van Truong, 56, has been apprehended, his co-conspirator is still on the streets. Victims have described the remaining suspect as an Asian male, 35 to 40 years old, with dark hair in a crew cut style, reports the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Though many a figure in this fine city's underground has slung herbal remedies, this may be the first time the thieving was of actual herbal remedies. Sea cucumbers and ginseng are used as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, muscle relaxant and general purpose cure, reports the Los Angeles Times. A pound of sea cucumber retails for up to $130, while a pound of ginseng nets $300. The black market rate for these products is unknown.

The first of the couple's capers occurred on October 20, when one of the gentlemen tried to lift a large amount of cucumber from a local store. He was chased off and jumped into a waiting Honda Accord. The second offense happened on Garvey Avenue. This time, the thief took off with over $1,000 in ginseng. Truong is believed to have been the getaway driver, in the same Honda Accord. A third failed attempt, with the same car, was made two days later at a store on Garvey and Garfield.

What led to the capture of this dangerous thief? Witnesses at all three locations wrote down his license plate number.

Truong could be charged with "grand theft" cucumber and ginseng, as the requirement for grand theft is $250 worth of farm crops or fruit. Cucumbers are fruits, and ginseng, though a root, is presumably grown on a farm. Agricultural classifications aside, if the estimated value of the ginseng heist is correct, a theft of $950 of personal property is also grand theft. Either way, he qualifies. The good news is, he only faces up to a year in jail on the ginseng charge.

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