(BIVN) – Three individuals have been arrested and charged in connection with lychee theft from a Hilo farm on June 9, 2022.
From the Hawaiʻi Police Department:
A joint law enforcement investigation between Hawaii Police Department and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) resulted in three individuals arrested and charged for criminal offenses.
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.
Investigators executed search warrants on the 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.
On Friday, June 10, after conferring with the Hawaii Prosecutor’s Office, officers from the Hilo Community Policing Section charged 32-year-old Jan Loren Aguinaldo, 33-year-old Duston Bishop, and 24-year-old Krislyn Palama with one count each of criminal trespassing in the second degree, and theft in the second degree.
Hawaii Police Department would like to remind the public that the theft of agricultural products that have a value exceeding $100 or which weigh more than 25 pounds is a felony offense punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
Police would also like to 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:
1.) 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;
2.) Name of the farm owner and address of origin;
3.) Name of the buyer or consignee, and destination; and
4.) 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,” says Officer Christopher Fukumoto of the Hilo Community Policing Section.
Hawaii Police Department and the Hawaii Prosecutor’s Office remain committed to investigating and prosecuting both the individuals who steal agricultural products and the vendors who purchase stolen agricultural products for resale.
Please report all suspected agricultural theft incidents to the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.