Sweep of Uncle Billy’s Hotel in Hilo nets two arrests, 10 citations
A three-agency sweep of the condemned and dilapidated former Uncle Billy’s Hotel and Resort, on Banyan Drive in Hilo, resulted in the arrest of two people on outstanding warrants and 10 citations for simple trespass.
More than three dozen officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, the Hawai‘i Police Department, and the State Sheriff Division teamed up to conduct a dawn sweep the three-story building, which is condemned because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Splitting into five teams just after 6 a.m., they swept each room and open areas, according to a DLNR news release.
“The once-thriving and popular resort is an eyesore and extremely dangerous to be inside. Rubbish, human waste, graffiti, hanging wires, and trip hazards are evident throughout the building. Officers wore protective shoe coverings and many used N-95 protective masks,” according to the DLNR report.
In less than half an hour the building had been cleared, and people inside were brought to the parking lot where they were cited or arrested.
DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “We deeply appreciate the assistance and coordination with Hawai‘i County Police and State Sheriff’s to conduct a safe operation in a very unsafe place. We can’t stress strongly enough that anyone staying in Uncle Billy’s is subjecting themselves to serious injury due to obstructions, hanging wires, filthy conditions, and fire. We hope anyone contemplating returning will take this into consideration.”
DLNR continues to seek a general fund appropriation from the legislature of at least $12.5 million for demolition of the building.
DLNR has contract security services on the property during nighttime hours, and the department is considering additional security measures, including perimeter fencing and lighting to further secure the premises from trespassers.
The individuals cited for trespass are scheduled to appear in Hilo District Court on May 19.