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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Wednesday, October 25, 2000

Call to report
stolen state equipment

Question: Does the state (and city) have a special hot line that I could call to report the possible theft of used state equipment, such as water heaters, refrigerators, stoves, etc. I'm in fear of losing my job, naturally, so I do not want to give my name.

Answer: We had a similar question in April and the answer, in general, was to call police.

However, you can also call the state attorney general's Criminal Justice Division at 586-1160.

"Especially, on the neighbor islands, it's easier to report it (to police) because we don't have criminal-justice representatives on the neighbor islands, although we do prosecute crimes over there," said Deputy Attorney General Rick Damerville.

You can remain anonymous, although that makes it harder to investigate, he said.

Usually, because it's state employees catching other employees stealing, "they'll normally go to their department heads and the department heads will refer it to us," Damerville said. "But we do get some phone calls. We're a bit of the place of last resort sometimes. But we can initiate cases, and do."

He said it's preferable for county employees to refer suspected thefts to county police, but they can also call the attorney general's office.

He noted the criminal justice department has only six attorneys statewide and "not a lot" of investigators. "So, for the most part, the first line of defense against crime is your county police department. If, for some reason, you don't feel justice is being served there and you want a second opinion, you can call us."

Q: Can you please warn readers of a middle-aged local male, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, 135 pounds, dressed casually, who is approaching homes in the Aiea Heights and possibly other areas, passing himself as an employee of the Board of Health. He says he is investigating an anonymous complaint about a barking dog. He shows no ID and his demeanor is not official. I was suspicious so called the Health Department, who confirmed it does not authorize anonymous calls regarding nuisance animal barking. I advise any home owner to call police immediately if so approached. A free-roaming or persistently barking dog is a nuisance and in need of training, but there are laws in effect to correct this problem: call police or the Hawaiian Humane Society.

A: The Department of Health does not investigate complaints about barking dogs, said spokeswoman Janice Okubo. Also, Health Department workers investigating complaints always wear a photo ID clipped to their outer apparel, she said.

If you are in doubt about any such person or have questions regarding any Health Department inquiry, Okubo said to call 586-4400 for verification.

Meanwhile, you are correct about whom to call. Animal nuisance calls are handled primarily by the Humane Society (call 946-2187) and secondarily, by police (call 911).


To the two Makaha "bruddas" who stopped and offered my wife and me help when our car died at the bottom of Makaha Valley Road Sunday morning, Oct. 15. They so generously drove me to a Waianae auto parts store, where I bought a replacement alternator belt. Then they borrowed a bag of tools from a friend and helped me install the belt. Thanks to these two guys we avoided what could have been a nightmare, especially since we had driven all the way from Waimanalo. Aloha, guys -- Tom Mendes

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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