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Three suspects charged with Ag theft in Hilo, police recover 150 pounds of lychee

Hawaiʻi Island police arrested and charged three individuals with criminal offenses for the alleged theft of lychee fruit from an orchard in Hilo.

Investigators executed search warrants on a vehicle and the bags the individuals were seen carrying, which resulted in the recovery of more than 150 pounds of lychee fruit with an estimated value of more than $1,200, according to a department news release.

On Friday, June 10, after conferring with the Hawaiʻi Prosecutor’s Office, officers from the Hilo Community Policing Section charged Jan Loren Aguinaldo, 32, Duston Bishop, 33, and Krislyn Palama, 24, with one count each of second degree criminal trespassing, and second degree theft.

A joint law enforcement investigation between Hawaiʻi Police Department and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement resulted in the charges.

The charges stem from an incident on Thursday, June 9, 2022, when a DLNR DOCARE officer reported observing four individuals crossing the Wailuku River above Rainbow Falls each carrying a large bag on their backs. Upon police contact, one of the individuals fled the area. A large amount of lychee fruit was observed within a vehicle where the individuals were contacted and the owner of a nearby farm identified the fruit as coming from his orchards.

Police also remind agricultural vendors that a certificate of ownership and movement is required whenever purchasing large amounts of agricultural products, which shall include the following information:

  • Seller’s name, residence address, telephone number, and the license plate number of any vehicle used by the seller to deliver the commodity to the place of purchase;
  • Name of the farm owner and address of origin;
  • Name of the buyer or consignee, and destination; and
  • Signature of the seller and, upon sale, the signature of the buyer or consignee.

No prospective buyer or consignee shall purchase an agricultural commodity from a seller if the seller does not provide a copy of the ownership and movement certification and verification whenever required and shall report the attempted sale to the police.

“The theft of agricultural products is a growing problem that hurts the entire community by raising the cost of locally grown produce which can adversely affect our island’s food sustainability,” said Officer Christopher Fukumoto of the Hilo Community Policing Section.

Tipsters can contact the police department with information on agricultural thefts, or if they prefer to remain anonymous they may call Crime Stoppers and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/06/13/three-suspects-charged-with-ag-theft-in-hilo-police-recover-150-pounds-of-lychee/

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