KILAUEA — A Princeville man’s 2014 Toyota Tacoma was stolen from Kahili Beach, also known as Rock Quarry Beach, at the mouth of the Kilauea River, and set on fire less than an hour later, last week.
Rory Arnett was returning from a day at the beach when he found an empty space where his truck should have been. He immediately called 911, and a police officer arrived 15 minutes later.
“I did a few minutes of him trying to take my statement when he got a call,” Arnett said. “He’s like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a truck on fire at Spalding (Monument) that matches your description.’”
Law enforcement and Arnett soon confirmed the burning vehicle, located 14 miles from Kahili Beach by road, was indeed Arnett’s.
“This isn’t normal. I’ve been going down to the Rock Quarry for 20 years,” Arnett said. “I haven’t really ever heard of much theft or anything down there.”
The keys to Arnett’s vehicle had been left in an unlocked toolbox in the bed of the truck, which was stolen between 3 and 3:25 p.m., according to the Kaua‘i Police Department’s preliminary report. It was found on fire at Spalding Monument at approximately 3:40 p.m.
“Based on the short time frame, it appears the unknown suspect(s) stole the vehicle, took a short joy ride, then lit the vehicle on fire,” KPD Patrol Services Bureau Assistant Chief Mark Begley told The Garden Island in an email.
“This type of crime is not something new, and there has not been an increase in these particular types of crimes recently. However, there has been an overall increase in crimes since last year. With significantly more people on island right now, we expect an increase in crime versus the same time last year,” said Begley.
Arnett’s wife, Erika Arntee, hopes people will take the incident as a reminder to be a bit more cautious.
“Be careful — but everyone’s been awesome. KPD has been awesome,” Erika Arnett said. “The community has been great. There’s definitely more wonderful people here than not.”