HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Vandalism knocked out an ice factory in Hilo just as demand soared after tropical storm Iselle.
Trucks and other property were damaged Tuesday night or Wednesday morning at Alii Ice, which had been producing 40,000 pounds a day, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (http://bit.ly/1nTlgjn) reported.
Owner Jon Bockrath said he was closing the plant and laying off its 13 employees until someone is jailed.
"I don't know what all the damage is at this point," he said. "But I can't run those trucks now. Until I know, I'm not even gonna try."
The vandal broke windows in the vehicles, damaged one ignition system and ripped out another, and removed an air intake.
The factory's burglar alarm likely scared off the vandal, he said.
The tropical storm made landfall last weekend and caused millions of dollars in damage to the state agriculture industry.
In the ice plant vandalism, police detained a person of interest who was in custody on another matter, said Lt. James Gusman of Hilo Patrol Division.
"He's not specifically arrested for that right now," Gusman said.
Alii Ice had limited customers to purchases of 100 pounds of ice to make sure all customers were served following the storm. Someone left a "belligerent, obnoxious, obscene phone call" on the company answering machine, Gusman said
"I don't know if it's related, that particular incident or not," Gusman said. "But it's that attitude and that kind of obnoxiousness and so forth that I'm not gonna tolerate."
Big Island Ice of Kona and others are trying to fill ice demand. Supermarket chain Safeway said it was sending more than 16 tons of ice from Oahu for distribution by the American Red Cross.
Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/