Four vehicles stolen from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife last November have been recovered, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources has reported.
Two trucks, a utility task vehicle, a tilt trailer and 140 other items — including tools, chainsaws, first aid kits, raincoats, coolers and fuel cans — were stolen from a DOFAW base yard in Hilo that supports the work of the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, the DLNR said in a news release.
The total value of the vehicles exceeds $130,000. Many of the other items have not yet been recovered.
A joint law enforcement task form involving the Hawaii Police Department and DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement today recovered the $18,000 UTV from a property in the Puna district.
“We are very happy to get it back. The loss of the trucks, trailer, UTV, and other equipment would have set the project back a few years and likely would have reduced its capacity to host tree planting volunteers, community groups, and members of the public during the upcoming planting season. The joint effort between DOCARE and HPD is to be commended,” said Nick Agorastos, a supervisor with the DOFAW’s Hawaii branch, in a statement.
One of the trucks, a $70,000 2018 Ford F350, was recovered in January, and two suspects were arrested by police.
“We’re pleased our combined efforts resulted in more than one hundred thousand dollars-worth of vehicles being returned to the forest restoration project,” DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said in a statement. “When criminals steal from government facilities, they’re stealing from all of us. It’s heartening that the important work the MKFRP conducts on the highest mountain in Hawai‘i has not been hamstrung by these thieves.”
The investigation is ongoing, and no other arrests have been made. Those with information about this crime can call DOCARE’s hotline at 808-634-DLNR (3567), HPD at 808-935-3511 or via anonymous tip through the DLNRTip app.