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Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

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Big Island groups offer $30,000 reward for information on hacked papaya trees

By Star-Advertiser staff

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A $30,000 reward is being offered for information concerning the destruction of 10 acres of papaya trees in three adjoining fields in Puna in July.

The three properties are owned by separate people in the Kapoho area.

The reward is being jointly funded by the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association and the Mayor Billy Kenoi.

The trees appeared to have been chopped down with a machete sometime between July 18 and July 19.  Additional adjoining papaya fields were left undamaged.

The fields are located on Alohalani, about one mile north from where it intersects Route 132 near the 6-mile marker. 

The scene is near the area where police said 8,500 trees were destroyed a year earlier.

Laureto Julian, 65, who lost thousands of papaya trees on June 29, 2010, said at the time he believed up to five people caused the damage.

He said his crop output was cut by about two-thirds and he was forced to layoff workers.

Hawaii County police ask that anyone with information call detective Brandon Konanui at 961-2340 or the Police Department's non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. Crime Stoppers doesn't record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Citizens also may call the Police Department's Kuleana Hotline at 961-2219 if they have information that this crime might have been an act by any organized group.






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