Two arrests have been made in what authorities said was the theft of sugar worth millions of shekels – from state warehouses where food is stored in case of a national emergency, police said.
The arrests are the results of a months-long investigation by police, who have been tracking the actions of the thieves. The detainees had access to the sugar, and have been packaging it and selling it to supermarkets and wholesalers – for far below the going price for sugar. Several sugar packers have also been accused in the case; police believe the thieves were acting in collusion with the packers. Attorneys for the packers said that their clients were innocent of all wrongdoing. The investigation into their role is ongoing, police said.
The existence of the warehouses comes as a surprise to many Israelis, and little is publicly known about them. Sources told Yediot Acharonot that the warehouses contain at least several weeks worth of many basic foods, including sugar, flour, salt, oil and preserved meats. The food will be available for distribution in the case of a national emergency or major war that makes importing or locally producing food impossible.