State land in Wahiawa has been a haven for illegal activity, and it’s been going on for years. The state says it is aware of the problem and is finally moving forward to fix it.

KHON2 spoke with someone who recovered his stolen car there, and he says the area is being used as a massive chop shop.

After recovering his stolen car, the man, who didn’t want to be identified, took pictures of the the farmland area by Kamehameha Highway and Nui Avenue. He said he was astounded by the number of cars there, and the magnitude of what he says is a chop shop.

“They have tents, they have work stations, there’s generators, they operate at night. It’s a 24-hour run chop shop,” he said.

He says everyone seems to know that this has been going on for years, and he can’t understand why no one has put a stop to it.

“These thieves are not shy, they’re not even hiding it in plain sight, plain sight. So I think something needs to be done to stop this operation,” the man said.

The land is owned by the state’s Agribusiness Development Corporation. Project Manager Ken Nakamoto says they’ve tried repeatedly to keep the criminal elements out.

“Our gates and barriers that were installed have been removed time and time again despite our efforts to try and put them back as soon as possible,” said Nakamoto.

He says there’s also a lawsuit pending over the property. So the state doesn’t want to put a lot of resources into it until that’s resolved. He adds that state sheriffs were ready to move in and drive the criminals out but they’ll likely just come back.

“We didn’t want to put in all these resources to do a sweep and a cleanup when we’ve known through experience that when we do this without some kind of long term presence, the problem will return within a day or two,” said Nakamoto.

He adds that reservoirs will be installed in that area in February, and that will help with the state’s plan to put farmers there, which should stop the criminal activity.