Suspected watermelon thief arrested at parents' house - KPTV - FOX 12

Suspected watermelon thief arrested at parents' house

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William "Billy" Traverso William "Billy" Traverso
Gregory Bennett Gregory Bennett
Brad Taylor Brad Taylor
CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OR (KPTV) -

A man accused of stealing thousands of pounds of watermelons from local WinCo Foods stores was arrested at his parents' home in Clackamas County.

Deputies arrested William "Billy" Traverso, 42, Tuesday night in the 29000 block of Southwest Meedy Road. He is charged with theft and organized retail theft.

Police said he, along with Brad Taylor, 40, of Molalla, took six pallets of watermelons weighing nearly 5,800 pounds from the WinCo store on Cedar Hills Boulevard in Beaverton June 7. Investigators said another 11 pallets were stolen from the Tigard WinCo store earlier that same morning.

On Wednesday, Beaverton police identified a third suspect in the case. Investigators said Gregory Bennett, 46, was the driver during the watermelon thefts.

Taylor remains on the loose. Police said he was once employed delivering watermelons and investigators believe their intent was to sell the stolen fruit.

Traverso has a long criminal history. He was arrested in a high-profile case in 2009, accused of selling steroids to a Canby police officer. In March of this year, he was arrested in Canby on meth charges, along with attempt to elude, tampering with evidence and falsifying drug test results, according to court records.

Detectives said the watermelons are valued at $7,000. Five of the stolen pallets were recovered from a storage building on an Aurora farm. WinCo workers picked them up, but those watermelons will not be sold.

If you know where Taylor or Bennett are, call police at 503-629-0111.

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