HANAPEPE — A Hanapepe woman went out to buy a new battery for her old Buick on Monday morning and returned to find the car missing, apparently stolen by a thief with a spare 12-volt battery.
The woman reported the crime, found her car before the police, installed the new battery and was laughing about the whole ordeal over a beer by Monday evening.
Kathy, a Westside resident who asked that her last name be withheld, woke up in the morning and loaded a basket of dirty clothes into her Buick LaCrosse, intending to get some laundry done. But when the car wouldn’t start, she got a ride to a nearby auto parts store to pick up a new battery.
Kathy left her keys in the car — 15-year-old Buick ignitions have a tendency to lock up when the battery is dead — but wasn’t particularly concerned, figuring nobody would bother stealing a beat-up old rambler that didn’t even start.
She guessed wrong.
Kathy returned from the store a short time later with a new battery, only to learn she had no car to put it in. Confused, Kathy called the Kauai Police Department, thinking maybe they had towed the vehicle for some reason. She gave them the license plate number, but the officer couldn’t find anything in KPD’s records.
“Somebody had put their own battery in it,” Kathy said, speculating about how a thief would go about stealing a broken-down vehicle.
At any rate, her car was gone, and with the laundry on hold — half her wardrobe was still in the car — Kathy headed to the police station to file a report. Meanwhile, her daughter had learned about the stolen car and decided to take matters into her own hands.
“She was just driving around looking for it ‘cause she was so pissed,” Kathy said, explaining that her daughter spent the afternoon driving all over Hanapepe until she found the Buick parked near Salt Pond Beach Park. “She’s Nancy Drew!”
The car thief and the battery were nowhere to be found. The dirty laundry was untouched.
“They left all my clothes, which is good,” she said. “I’d have lost half my whole wardrobe.”
At the end of the day, Kathy seemed basically ambivalent. She sat on a bar stool at Kauai Island Brewery in Port Allen, laughing about the fact that she spent the day chasing a car that wouldn’t start.
“I don’t care. I still have it,” she said. “They just borrowed it.”
She thought for a minute about the sort of person who would steal a car like her beat-up, broken-down LaCrosse.
“He had to be short because I had to push the seat back when I got in,” she said. “Probably a crackhead.”
Only one thing got to her.
“They stole my golf clubs,” Kathy said. “So if anyone sees a bright red golf bag with some pink ladies Ping Zing clubs in it …”
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.