01-08-20 Agricultural thefts

Hawaiʻi Police Department
Criminal Investigations Section, Area II
Detective Aron Tomota          
Phone: (808) 326-4646 ext. 262
Report Nos. 19-083098 / 19-099099

Media Release

Due to the recent uptick in agricultural theft, the Hawaiʻi Police Department would like to remind the public about the following;

  • Agricultural theft could be considered theft in the second degree, a class C felony.
  • Hawai’i Revised Statutes 708-0831(1)(d) states “A person commits the offense of theft in the second degree if the person commits theft of agricultural equipment, supplies, or products, or part thereof, the value of which exceeds $100 but does not exceed $20,000, or of agricultural products that exceed twenty-five pounds, from premises that are fenced, enclosed or secured in a manner designed to exclude intruders or there is prominently displayed on the premises a sign or signs sufficient to give notice and reading as follows: “Private Property”, “No Trespassing,” or a substantially similar message; or if at the point of entry of the premise, a crop is visible. The sign or signs, containing letters not less than two inches in height, shall be placed along the boundary line of the land in a manner and in such a position as to be clearly noticeable from outside the boundary line. Possession of agricultural products without ownership and movement certificates, when a certificate is required under chapter 145, is prima facie evidence that the products are or have been stolen.”
  • For the transport and sale of all agricultural commodities exceeding 200 pounds or with a value of least $100 that is marketed for commercial purposes, the Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes section 145-22 requires a Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture Certificate of Ownership/Movement of Agricultural Commodities (DL-22) record describing the commodity, the amount and value of the commodity, and shall include:
    • The seller’s name, residence address, telephone number, and license plate number of any vehicle used by the seller to deliver the commodity to the place of purchase;
    • The name of the farm owner and address of origin;
    • The name of the buyer or consignee, and destination, and;
    • The signature of the seller and, upon sale, the signature of the buyer or consignee
  • Two copies of the certificate shall accompany the shipment, and one copy each shall be retained by the seller and the buyer or consignee.
  • Sales over $300 also require the seller to present the buyer with a valid photo ID card or license, issued by a federal or state government agency

Additional, the Hawaiʻi Police Department recommends the following to help safeguard against agricultural theft;

  • Take an active involvement and establish communication within your community and neighborhood to help increase awareness.
  • Make it difficult for a thief or trespasser to enter onto, or steal from your property. This can include the use of:
    • Fencing, signage, motion sensors, ample lighting;
    • Security cameras, drones, or private security near high-value commodity areas. No-glow infrared flash trail cameras that are easily downloadable are recommended;
    • Dogs;
    • Strategically placed, and secured storage containers away from main roads or highways
  • Assist law enforcement with the following, if applicable:
    • Report any/all suspicious activity to the Hawaiʻi Police Department, (808) 935-3311;
    • Document the date, time, and location along with descriptions of the suspect(s) or vehicle(s) and direction of travel;
    • Provide photographs and/or video;
    • Request that the officer contacts you. Avoid remaining anonymous if you are willing to;
    • Provide the name of the vendor or business attempting to buy or sell suspected stolen goods
  • Establish a paper trail:
    • A seller or transporter of agricultural commodities weighing more than 200 pounds or valued at $100 or more, an ownership and movement certificate is required;
    • If you are a buyer of agricultural commodities, get to know your seller. Verify the seller’s ID ,and if the commodity is valued at $300 or more, the seller must provide you with a photocopy of a government-issued ID or license;
    • Provide a receipt for all transactions.

 


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