Each week lately, roving gangs of olive oil thieves have attacked dozens of olive groves in Spain, and police can’t keep up, so Spanish farmers have banded together to create organized vigilante bands to protect the groves from thieves.
According to The Local, Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil, and lately prices have been growing significantly. Olive crops were bad over the past two years, which drove prices up by more than 50 percent. Now, however, Spain is looking at an enormous harvest, and the surplus of now quite valuable olive oil has proved attractive for thieves.
Whereas thieves in previous years might have crept onto a farm and stolen a single sack full of olives, now they’re reportedly working in gangs and breaking in to steal the olives right from the trees. So farmers have been banding together as well to patrol the groves and keep an eye out for thieves.
The farmers might be vigilantes, but they are not Batman, and they say that they are specifically not engaging the thieves, because that could get violent, or even murderous. Criminals who are successfully fought off might even come back and burn the whole grove to get even.
"When we find trucks parked up where they shouldn’t be, we warn the Civil Guard," one farm patrol group explained.