Three new Kapa‘a businesses were burglarized late Wednesday night or early yesterday morning in the latest of a string of crimes in the area, according to owners and employees.
Coconut Coasters, a beach bike rental and gear shop, the adjacent Coconut Cup Juice Bar, and the nearby TNT Steakburgers stand were all broken into.
The suspect or suspects likely first went to the northernmost of those establishments, TNT Steakburgers, where they first attemted to pry open the back door before resorting to breaking the rear window and ripping through a screen to gain access to the trailer.
All the hard work was for naught, as suspects were unable to take any goods or find any cash once they maneuvered their way into the business.
“I don’t leave even one penny inside,” said co-owner Tetchie Venderwende.
In the course of breaking the window or climbing in, the suspect or suspects may have sustained an injury. Tom Venderwende, Tetchie’s husband and co-owner, said that there was “a lot of blood” inside the trailer when he arrived yesterday morning.
He estimated that workers spent about a half hour cleaning up the blood, and called the circumstances of the break-in a “real bummer” and “bad karma.”
TNT Steakburgers had already been through one attempted burglary since it opened July 3, according to Tom. In that incident, suspects broke a door latch but were unable to gain access to the trailer.
The suspect or suspects likely next went to The Coconut Cup Juice Bar, where they pried open wooden shutters, crawled past a screened window, and cracked open a safe stashed underneath the cash register.
Moya Denicore, who has been an employee of the company since it opened in June 2007, said that the suspect or suspects took “around $708, plus some loose change” from the safe.
Police conducted an investigation yesterday morning, she said, checking for fingerprints and taking blood samples.
Denicore said that owner Christa Hall had been traveling on the Mainland at the time of the incident and returned to the island yesterday to unhappy circumstances.
After successfully burglarizing the juice bar, the suspect or suspects likely walked next door to Coconut Coasters, where they kicked in a side door so violently that it set off a glass-break noise detector despite the fact that no glass was broken, according to owner Dale Costales.
The loud alarm likely scared off the suspect or suspects before they gained full access to the shop or made off with any merchandise or cash. Co-owner Melissa Costales said that the store is equipped with “alarm, cameras, motion sensors and glass-break.”
Dale was in the process of boarding up the broken double doorway yesterday.
The alarm also alerted police to the crimes. Melissa said that she received a call between 12:30 and 12:40 a.m. yesterday morning, and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get ahold of Denicore.
Melissa said that it was the second attempted burglary the store had suffered since it opened March 19, with a suspect or suspects breaking a window on the previous attempt.
Melissa said that the surrounding area has been hit hard by crime recently.
Since May, she said, two bicycles had been stolen at the property, the ATM across the street had been broken into two or three times, a stabbing occurred, Kapa‘a Middle School was burglarized, a nearby shave-ice stand was broken into, a drive-by shooting was staged at McDonald’s, and the Kapa‘a Neighborhood Center had someone damage its fence with a car.
The Kaua‘i Police Department has yet to make a statement on the burglaries or identify any suspects. The investigation is ongoing.
“(The police told me that) because so many businesses were hit, they’re going to use some (crime scene) techniques they wouldn’t otherwise use for one little guy,” said Tom Venderwende.
“We need to do something,” Melissa Costales said. “People need to report whatever they see or hear that’s not normal.”
Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to call Police Dispatch at 241-1711 or Crime Stoppers at 241-1887.
Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization that offers cash rewards of up to $1,000 to anyone furnishing anonymous information that leads to an arrest.
• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org