HONOLULU(KHON2)–Just over 24 hours after law enforcement conducted a sweep of an alleged chop shop near Whitmore Village, officers remain posted by the three roadways leading into the area. It’s a clear sign that they are committed to taking care of the problem once and for all.
“I think it’s very good because it’s safer for the community,” said Boyd Isnec, the Poamoho Community Association President, who lives directly across the street.
“I’m really happy that they’re doing something about this,” said Nani, a resident in Poamoho.
For years, residents complained about illegal activity on land owned by the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) along Kamehameha Highway directly across from Poamoho camp.
Thursday, law enforcement swept the area and found a mass dumping ground and hundreds of vehicles–many believed to be stolen.
“It was really nasty. It was really bad. They rob all the cars along the side. They shoot (guns) during all kind times of the night,” explained Nani.
“There was a lot of fires and what not too. And I guess they had a chop shop–all that kind of illegal stuff over there,” Isnec said.
Now officers are posted around the clock with flood lights to help them police the area at night.
The ADC is contracting a security firm to prevent illegal activity from taking root there again.
Ken Nakamoto, project manager for the ADC, said several people did try to return Thursday night but police stopped them. He added that they were not arrested.
“The officers and the security guards will be stationed at the primary entry points for the property. These are the known access points where trespassers and illegal dumpers have been entering the property,” explained Nakamoto.
The price-tag to secure the area for six months– an estimated $600,000 according to Nakamoto.
“The money is coming out of our operating budget, our ADC funds…basically our lease and rent revenues. We have some annual appropriations as well,” Nakamoto said.
KHON: “How long are you planning to keep the security there?”
“As long as it takes,” said Nakamoto.
He added that since the money to pay for the additional security is coming from the ADC operating budget and the Department of Agriculture, the ADC may have to delay some things, such as irrigation and farm development projects.
Nakamoto also said that the ADC will likely have to put in a request with the State for more money to cover the $1 million they think it will cost to secure the area annually.