Farmer says hundreds of papayas stolen off farm in Punaluu

Published  5:30 PM HST Oct 10, 2013
PUNALUU, Hawaii -

He's harvested papayas for decades. Now a farmer in Punaluu says hundreds of them were stolen right off his farm.

Click here to see Nana Ohkawa's report.

Papayas are not the only thing thieves are taking. Thursday morning, batteries were stolen out of heavy equipment on the farm. The farmer says he's fed up.

More than 500 pounds, that's more than 400 papayas, stolen from Kamiya Gold, Inc.'s farm. And the thief or thieves knew just when and how to strike. The papayas were picked off the trees right before Ken Kamiya and his workers were going to harvest them about a month ago.

"A farmer usually cuts it a certain way so he knows. Someone comes and cuts it a different way they can tell," said Kamiya.

Also, he said the stem should have been dried and wilted, but instead it was fresh, still with sap on it, signs that the fruits were just picked. He says it definitely was not by his workers.

"They must have been waiting and waiting for the opportune time to help themselves," said Kamiya.

Kamiya said the people who stole the papayas left in a hurry, not even covering their tracks, leaving behind carts and boxes.

"If you are going to take that much it's going to be sold. You can't eat 500 pounds of papayas yourself. Someone stole it and probably resold it," said Kamiya.

Kamiya calls the papaya "the marvelous fruit." He's farmed the fruit for more than 40 years. It's  his family business. He says the papaya theft is hurting his production, taking away time and money.

"There's a lot of work we do. A lot of weeding and fertilizing. We want it to stop of course, it goes against our whole being of being in business, working hard and making a profit and someone comes and helps themselves," said Kamiya.

The theft has pushed Kamiya to install new security measures to protect his produce. He had to dish out $2,000 for a new security gate. He's also had to install new alarm systems around the farm.

If you have any information you are asked to call Crimestoppers.

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