Mango season is in full swing. As we see more mango-themed foods and festivals this summer, some also start to see fruit pickers stealing mangoes from others. Mango tree owners say it’s upsetting when thieves take an excessive amount.
Homeowners with mango trees deal with people taking a handful of fruit now and then, but they draw the line when people are stealing too many.
Shari Nakakura’s 60-year-old tree once dripped with mangoes.
“Last summer, we had just like a bounty crop,” said Nakakura, “the mangoes were so prolific, they actually hung from the stem and touched the ground.”
However, the gift of abundance attracted thieves.
“We had two incidents that I reported it to the police. The first time they stole 100 mangoes,” said Nakakura. “I think the hardest part is when people were doing it to intentionally take a lot of mangoes. The first time there was a sheet left under the bushes. They were going to take a lot of mangoes.”
Homeowners we spoke to don’t seem bothered if their fruit branches extend over their property line. What they do not condone is trespassing and stealing large quantities of their fruit.
“We all take time to take care of our tree,” said Gerald, another mango tree owner. “It’s pretty much once a year, that’s it. After that no more.”
No matter how big or small their crops may be, their mangoes don’t go to waste. These homeowners take what they need and give to others.
“Right now my mom makes mango bread once a month for our church, for our Aloha Station at one love,” said Nakakura.
The Honolulu Police Department tells us theft of agricultural products worth less than $20-thousand could be classified as second-degree theft, a class C felony punishable by imprisonment of up to five years and a fine up to $10-thousand. Something that could simply be avoided if people just asked.
“If they ask I guess I would give them a handful or so. I draw the line, I don’t want someone coming over here and do a harvest,” said Gerald.
“We put a sign out that says thou shalt not steal but you can ask and people actually knocked on the door and said can we try your mangoes and we said absolutely,” said Nakakura.
Nakakura tells us this year she doesn’t anticipate her mangoes getting stripped again because she’s pruned her tree.
HPD also tells us offenders may be required to pay restitution in the amount of the value of the stolen property and replanting costs.