KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thieves have hit a relatively new business that takes tourists to scenic places on Oahu so that they can take pictures there. And the losses include high-quality prints of the owner's own photography work that are a key part of his income.
The thieves did that by breaking into the van belonging to Oahu Photography Tours. Business owner Alex Wilson parked it on Luana Hills Road on Tuesday.
"Me and my girlfriend were hiking up Olomana," said Wilson, "and then we came back. Window was shattered, and there was a box in the back. they pried it open. They were able to get the wallets and two phones."
"I was running to the car just to get a little bit more exercise, and I was ahead of Alex and I saw that there was glass all over and somebody told me that they broke into the van, and I was like, ugh. Disheartened for sure," said Wilson's girlfriend Quiara Cruel.
Wilson and Cruel called police and filed a report. They had to call police again Thursday.
"I was up in the Pali area, and it could've been the same guys because they punched the lock, unlocked my door, went in the back and got the box they couldn't get the first time, and they also took two suitcases full of my photos that I sell down at the (Honolulu) zoo fence during the weekends," Wilson said.
Wilson was left with only three framed prints of his photos.
Luana Hills Road is a high theft area, and Wilson knew that. There also are signs warning about break-ins, but they are small and hard to read.
Having been hit twice, Wilson is having some second thoughts. "Getting robbed one time, I should've been smart and taken my stuff with me, but I have a lock box in the back," said "Wilson. "But it wasn't bolted down, you know? that's what everybody was telling me, to get it bolted. And I will get it bolted down."
Wilson doesn't think he'll see his equipment again. But he's most upset that thieves took the suitcases with the photos.
"If anybody comes across a Nikon D90 with a whole bunch of lenses with a nice bag, they probably don't know how to format the memory card, so they'll see all my photos on there," Wilson said. "There's some monk seals, some big waves up the north shore. All kinds of stuff."
Wilson is continuing the tours, just without a camera of his own. He is offering a $500 reward for the return of the equipment and the photos.
Related link: Oahu Photography Tours