Fighting farm theft and vandalism is getting a closer look by state officials in the wake of high-profile cases.
Tougher penalties, rural neighborhood watch and product tracking from field to vendor are among the ideas to combat a growing and troublesome trend.
Whether it’s theft of produce or vandalism on a massive scale, agricultural crime is becoming center on the state’s radar.
“It was the vandalism that really led to all of the interest, because we’ve have three incidents that we know of, so it’s kind of building,” said State Agriculture Director Russell Kokubun.
The crimes range from brazen papaya crop destruction on Oahu and the Big Island, to pineapple theft on Maui.
“We’ve had probably one or two pickups a day stolen out of 1350 acres, that’s a lot,” says Doug MacCluer of Haliimaile Pineapple Co. Continue reading