KILAUEA — After discovering tools missing from his tent on Saturday, Kilauea resident Jarek Hall said he felt like someone opened a wound to his chest.
“For me, as a mechanic, those tools were like a baby to a mother. Suddenly, they were taken away,” he said. “It’s an uncomfortable feeling when you have someone come into your house and take your stuff.”
Jarek and his wife Mariola relocated to Kauai after spending 27 years in Tennessee. Jarek said the value of the specialized tools — Snap-on, Mac and Cromwell — was between $6,000 and $10,000.
The couple is in the process of building a garage. Jarek said he regrets not storing the tools in his home.
“Eventually, somewhere, they’re going to show up. I would even buy back those particular sockets,” he said. “Those specialty sockets mean a lot because 70 percent of them I can’t buy anymore.”
The Halls suspect that the tools were stolen Friday, during the couple’s trip to Lihue between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
“Drills, circular saws, chainsaw — they didn’t touch,” Jarek said. “They went to the corner and stole those tools. It seems like somebody was watching and knew what they were going for. It’s weird.”
The Halls said the insurance for the tools didn’t cover theft.
Political refugees from Poland, the Halls immigrated to the U.S. almost 30 years ago in hopes of a better future.
After launching a successful automotive business in Tennessee, the Halls moved to Kauai in August.
“For us to step away from car business, we came here several times, fell in love with Kauai and fell in love with the people of Kauai,” Mariola said. “We worked since we were young kids — 12-14 hours a day. We can’t say no to labor if it’s provided to us. That’s our main thing. We were making $5 an hour and we were using those tools.”
Though the Halls were saddened by the theft of their tools, they said they are grateful for the Kauai community for embracing them and showing them aloha.
“The people who we met at garage sales, at the store, or at the beach, that came here and embraced us, were incredible,” Mariola said. “People that we didn’t even meet before are opening their hands and arms and embracing us.”
If it wasn’t for the community, Jarek said, he would have considered selling their house and moving.
“I hope it’s going to be good from now on,” he said. “We are very lucky to be here. We learned how the community came together. That wouldn’t happen in the Mainland. I think that’s overriding this.”
Mariola said she and her husband will install a security system on their property, and hopes they can move on from the incident.
“As down as I was on Saturday, yesterday and today, it’s brighter,” Jarek said. “It makes you feel comfortable again.”
The Halls said they are grateful for the community’s support and would like to contribute to make the island better.
“We know there are problems with housing for local people,” Mariola said. “We thought ‘We’re going to become part of community here,’ and help with Habitat with Humanity and build cheaper housing for local people. That’s how we would like to help and say thank you for welcoming us in here.”