Residents ‘violated’ by car break-ins

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Owners Steve Stotts and Rachel Stotts show off their Dash Cam recorder and alarm products in front of their shop in the Puhi Industrial area.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Steve Stotts installs an audio system into a truck last week.

  • Courtesy Kaua‘i Police Department

    Bryson Ponce is Kaua‘i Police Department assistant chief in charge of the Investigative Services Bureau.

LIHU‘E — On a Saturday morning earlier this summer, a Hanama‘ulu resident on Pohina Street woke up to find her and her neighbor’s vehicles broken into, and it was all caught on tape.

“Our incident happened on June 7,” Brooke Aguinaldo said. “I was thinking to myself, ‘did I take the coin tray out and not put it back in?’ Then later that afternoon my neighbor comes walking to our house and asks if our security cameras were working, because her four vehicles got broken into.

“How she knew was because her husband always puts his things in the same place every day,” said Aguinaldo.

Her husband went into the house to check their security-camera footage.

“What does my husband see?” asked Aguinaldo. “He sees someone in my car going through my middle console, opening my sunglasses compartment and everything.”

But the video did not capture the man’s face clearly enough.

“I felt violated,” Aguinaldo said. “I mean, at our house, on our property?”

After she watched the video of an unidentified man going through her car, she walked over to her neighbor’s house and told him what she discovered, which made her neighbor check his cameras to confirm the same results of the same person going through his things. Another neighbor found wet footsteps in their car.

“I am assuming he went down the whole street because he went into the garage of our neighbor across the street,” Aguinaldo said. “Now we are fully aware and always keep our eyes open. Luckily, our neighbors are close and we look out for each other.

“Guess these are trying times that people feel the need to have to break into other people’s property,” said Aguinaldo

The Kaua‘i Police Department reported 21 unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle crimes in August. This is a slight increase compared to the 19 UEMVs reported in August 2019.

When it comes to stolen vehicles or unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle), KPD said they had a decrease, reporting nine for the month of August compared to 20 UCPV cases in August of 2019.

KPD Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce said KPD investigates these cases as class-C felony property-crime offenses.

“We need to always be vigilant in not letting our guard down by leaving our keys in our vehicle and any other items of value, because those who commit property-related crimes such as vehicle break-ins will exploit and take advantage of those who let their guard down,” Ponce said.

Ponce said do not leave valuables like cash, coins, purse, wallet, computers, cell phone and luggage in open view.

“Lock your vehicle’s doors even when you are parked in your garage at home,” Ponce said.

Owner Rachel Stotts of SS Customs Kaua‘i sells security equipment like car alarms and recording cameras to help record accidents and break-ins.

“We have key alarms and Dash Cams because people do have car break-ins here on Kaua‘i,” Stotts said. “Also, if it is raining, you want to be able to unlock your car quickly, not have to put in a key.

“The Dash Cams catch anything that is moving. You can also change the settings to capture an accident or keep it on 24/7,” she said.

Stotts said her husband and co-owner Steve Stotts, on average see about 10 people a day in their shop asking about security systems and installation services.

“To get this installed, a basic backup camera usually costs around $400,” Rachel Stotts said. “Now, to install the cameras that record, they get up there in cost.”

Rachel Stotts said people do get the security alarms and Dash Cams to give them a bit of protection while they park their cars at home or at work.

Steve Stotts said he does the installation in the shop next to their store, while Rachel Stott handles all of the car accessories in their store.

“I’ve been doing this professionally since I was 15 years old. Now I’m 55,” Steve Stotts said. “We have thought about doing this installation service mobile, but most of my tools are in the shop. If the shop costs more than staying open, we will shut it down and go mobile.

“My wife is awesome. She keeps the store well-stocked, and people have said they can’t believe the product they want is here on Kaua‘i,” he said.


Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business, and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or

  1. Da Shadow September 21, 2020 3:05 am Reply

    Pesky tourists at it again.

    oh wait…

  2. Coolio September 21, 2020 8:14 am Reply

    I have an idea! LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS! It seems to help!

  3. CommonSenseish September 21, 2020 4:07 pm Reply

    Not sure why he agreed to a photo op. Please, ONE PERSON, comment if this guy ever got your stuff back from a car break in or even at least found the thief without the help of Facebook pin-pointing exactly who it was first…. I’ll wait….

  4. Gill Avema September 21, 2020 5:02 pm Reply

    Yes, Da Shadow homeless tourist.

  5. Bluedream September 22, 2020 4:41 pm Reply

    What’s the point of paying for security cameras if the cops say it’s not enough to identify the thief, who likely should already be behind bars because he likely has priors and keeps getting released to steal more stuff to buy drugs from dealers that should be in jail too, but also keeps getting released? Save your money. The thief will steal your video camera too.

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