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Posted: Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 11:08 AM HST

West Hawaii farmers report increase in thefts

By Associated Press

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) The Big Island's prosecutor is encouraging farmers to report thefts of crops.

Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth says he's working with the state Department of Agriculture to create a pilot program to bring more agriculture investigators to the island. He says because the island is an agricultural one, his office takes farm thefts seriously.

West Hawaii Today reports that area farmers say they notice an uptick in thefts.

Kona fruit farmer Nancy Taylor says surveillance footage showed men walking off with hundreds of pounds of fruit earlier this month.

Changes to state law requires produce buyers to record certain information from sellers. Roth says that helps police find the sellers and make sure they actually have a farm.

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