A Florida man is accused of stealing more than four million pounds (1.8 million kilograms) of citrus from five citrus growers. Officers with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services arrested Bradley D. Reiter of Winter Haven, Polk County, for illegally obtaining the citrus which was worth more than $540,000.
According to the department’s investigation, Reiter is the owner and operator of Reiter Citrus, Inc. Investigators say he entered into a contract with Gabriel Family Partners to purchase citrus and removed 13,108 boxes of oranges between March 20 and April 16, 2014. Reiter Citrus, Inc. never paid the business for the fruit or its rise in value.
Reiter is also accused of entering into a contract with Gabriel Groves, Inc., to purchase citrus.
He allegedly removed 1,599 boxes of grapefruit and 20,468 boxes of oranges between March 26 and April 28, 2014, but Reiter Citrus, Inc. never paid the business for the fruit or its rise in value.
Reiter also allegedly entered into a contract with Sandlake Groves, LLC to purchase citrus. He removed 10,907 boxes of oranges between April 29 and May 14, 2014. Reiter Citrus, Inc. never paid the business for the fruit or its rise in value, according to investigators.
Reiter is also accused of entering a grove owned in Bartow without permission. He allegedly removed 180 boxes of citrus. Reiter Citrus, Inc. then provided the resident with a cheque that only represented half of the actual value of the fruit.
Investigators say Reiter also entered into a written agreement with a Bartow resident to purchase citrus and removed 570 boxes of citrus fruit, but never paid the resident for the fruit.
Reiter was booked into the Polk County Jail on multiple charges, including: scheme to defraud, grand theft and dealing citrus without a licence.