Battling burglaries

LIHUE — Cindy Marvin had her property in the Moloaa area burglarized twice in December and January.

Neighbors, including in Kilauea, have also had their homes and vacation rentals burglarized.

“It’s unacceptable,” Marvin said. “They are walking right in and taking what they want. I feel like a fish in a barrel.”

One neighbor told The Garden Island her house was broken into twice in two weeks. Another neighbor said they had their home hit five times in three weeks.

But the number of burglaries on Kauai are falling.

For 2014, Kauai police reported a total of 632 burglaries islandwide, compared to 391 burglaries for 2015, a decline of 62 percent.

That’s a 62 percent reduction in burglaries. The figure is not specific to residential burglaries and includes commercial properties.

In 2015, KPD reported 26 arrests of alleged burglars on Kauai.

During the police commission meeting on Jan. 22, Police Chief Darryl Perry stressed the importance of staffing and getting recruits. He said that for quite some time, the department has been dealing with lack of staffing and police will be asking the mayor for help. KPD is training the 87th recruit class of 11 potential officers.

“Community involvement is a crucial element to solving and preventing property crimes,” said Executive Chief of Police Michael Contrades. “By working together with the community, we’re better able to hold criminals responsible.”

And that’s exactly what Citizens Against Thieves, or CAT, is.

Mavin’s neighborhood has started a “watch” of sorts where they get together through email and coordinate with one another.

“I am so over this!! Our next door neighbor was broken into last night and the thief took over $4,000 of tools! They or he (thieves) broke down the locked door,” said Harvest Edmonds in one of the emails.

The chain of emails and the watch group were started to protect homes, Marvin said. Other residents have installed cameras and in-home security systems.

Marvin said she has provided police with names, pictures, surveillance videos and license plate numbers of possible suspects.

Edmonds said she understands that the officers are busy and is willing to help police any way she can.

“Following an initial response by patrol officers, detectives followed up with the victims,” said county spokeswoman Sarah Blane. “Officers have not yet made an arrest in these cases but continue to investigate any and all leads.”

Blane said the thieves in this area appear to be targeting visitors, “as visitors tend to travel with cash and valuable electronics, such as cameras, tablets and laptops, which can be easy to steal but difficult to trace.”

In Kapaa, Kulana Kokoleka owner and chocolate farmer Bob Bartolo is upset about the recent farm burglaries in the Kulana subdivision, a section of land between Kaapuni, Olohena and Houiki roads.

In the last two years, he said his farm has been burglarized of a trailer, farm tools, a table saw, some fertilizer, solar panels, generators and even a chicken.

“It’s been happening in the subdivision for quite a while,” Bartolo said.

Since the two burglaries, he’s amped up his security, and even nabbed a suspect already.

“We caught one of the pigs eating a mango,” Bartolo said.

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