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Vandals chop down 10 acres of Puna papaya trees

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:11 p.m. HST, Jul 19, 2011

Hawaii County police are asking the public for information or leads on who chopped down 10 acres of papaya trees on three farms in Puna this week.

Puna patrol officers responded Tuesday to a report that papaya trees in three adjoining papaya fields in the Kapoho area had been cut down. Each property belonged to a separate owner. Additional adjoining papaya fields were left undamaged, police said.

The fields are on Alohalani, about one mile north from where it intersects Route 132 near the 6-mile marker. The trees appear to have been chopped down by someone with a machete sometime between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, police said.

It is near the area where 8,500 trees were destroyed a year ago, police said.

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation are investigating the destruction. There was no immediate estimate on the value of the damaged trees.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Acting Lt. Reed Mahuna at 961-2252. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

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