Public Advised to be Alert of Agriculture Thefts

January 9, 2020, 6:00 AM HST (Updated January 8, 2020, 7:59 PM)
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An uptick in agriculture theft has police reminding the public of its consequences and how farmers can safeguard themselves against such crimes.

In the past fews months, there have been two large thefts from South Kona coffee farms, which is not the norm, said Hawai‘i County Police Assistant Chief Robert Wagner.

In October, 2,000 pounds of coffee was taken. In December, 1,200 pounds of parchment, valued at $30,000 to $40,000, was stolen.

“There are other agriculture products taken on occasions, but right now not to the extent of the two big coffee thefts we had; so we are focusing on coffee,” Wagner said.

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Police say agriculture theft could be considered a class C felony. State law requires that the transport and sale of all agricultural commodities exceeding 200 pounds or with a value of $100 for commercial sale have a Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture Certificate of Ownership/Movement of Agricultural Commodities.

Police suggest farmers establish communication within their community and neighborhood to help increase awareness. They also advise to find ways to secure property.

Officials say to establish a paper trail.

Report suspicious activity to Hawaiʻi Police Department at 808-935-3311.

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