Trespassers and Property Damage Rampant on West End
By Ed Misaki
The Nature Conservancy, Molokai Ranch, Molokai Land Trust and Hui Malama O Mo`omomi have been experiencing unprecedented trespassing and property damage. Fences are being cut, gates broken, and trespassing has become a norm. Residents, land owners, law enforcement officers and community leaders alike have taken note and gathered to raise awareness and bring an end to the problem.
Homesteader Mac Poepoe of Hui Malama O Mo`omomi says concerned citizens have asked the Molokai Police Department to become involved.
“We have got to do something,” explained Poepoe. “People have loss their values of malama `aina and respect.”
He added that anyone seen in these areas without proper authorization will be investigated by the police.
“It is happening all over the Ranch’s property throughout West Molokai with no regard,” said a spokesman for Molokai Ranch.
Clayton English, Field Coordinator of the Molokai Land Trust said he remembers his dad teaching them to walk to get their opihi, fish, or deer. “Cutting fences or gates was out of the question,” he said.
“I hope people realize that it is not worth it to do all this damage. It is costing us a lot of time and money to be continually fixing the fences and gates,” added Brian Naeole, Conservancy’s Animal Control Coordinator.
The Molokai Police have begun to investigate complaints by the affected landowners, according to Detective Eugene Santiago. He said that because the trespassing is occurring over multiple properties, a conviction would have lot of counts added together for the multiple trespassing and property damage.
“I hope it does not have to come to arrest and prosecution. I hope the trespassing and property damage stop before these measures are taken,” said Santiago.
The concerned landowners and organizations have agreed to monitor these activities and anyone seen on the properties unlawfully will be reported to the police, investigated and prosecuted if warranted.
Ed Misaki is TNC Director of Molokai Programs.