Puppets stolen from Maui theater group's van

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A van belonging to Maui Academy of Performing Arts was broken into Saturday night in Kahului and the thieves made off with three giant puppets used in MAPA's current Educational Theatre Tour, The Further Adventures of Tikki Tikki Tembo.

Over the next four weeks, the tour is scheduled to perform for over 7,000 students on Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Kauai. So far this semester, 14,000 students have seen the production in their preschools and elementary schools across the state.

MAPA is asking for the public's help in locating the puppets. The one-of-a-kind, 34 inch puppets were professionally designed and built by master puppeteer Frank Kane two years ago.

MAPA depends heavily on its Educational Theatre Tour as a main source of income.

"As a nonprofit, we are really feeling the pinch of these tough economic times. Right now, most grant monies are going to social services rather than to programs in the arts and education. With fewer grants, we depend on our programs to make ends meet. We are operating hand-to-mouth right now, and these thieves just cut off one of our hands," says David Johnston, MAPA's Executive & Artistic Director. "We are asking for the public's help in locating the puppets.

If you see the puppets, call 244-8760 on Maui or friendsofmapa@mauiacademy.org.

For more information about MAPA, visit www.mauiacademy.org.

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