Little league team battling increase in ballpark vandalism - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Little league team battling increase in ballpark vandalism

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Norman Aweau Field at Aikahi Park Norman Aweau Field at Aikahi Park
Kriss Cockett Kriss Cockett
Jason Park Jason Park
Billy Eddy Billy Eddy
KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Parents, coaches and other volunteers have been working to prepare Norman Aweau Field at Aikahi Park for a little league state tournament that begins Friday. But they've also had to deal with a vandalism problem that has gotten worse just in the last few weeks.

Eleven year-old Logan Aweau was practicing Thursday afternoon with his Kainalu Little League teammates for the tournament. Meanwhile, their parents and coaches have been dealing with more crime that could pose a danger to the kids.

"We find drug paraphernalia, clear baggies with residue, pipes," said Kriss Cockett, Kainalu Little League president. "And we frequently find beer bottles -- empty, broken -- and we clean that stuff up before the kids come here."

They're starting to find them on a daily basis, along with graffiti and other damage. A few days ago, vandals broke a lock on a storage shed at a dugout where the team keeps extra basis and equipment to maintain the fields.

Kainalu Little League vice president Jason Park showed us the shed. "While we were out there this door was completely wide open, wide open like this, and all of these things were all out scattered here," he said, pointing to a small drainage ditch behind the dugout.

Vandals also broke and bent a chain link fence, which is now flat on the ground. They also busted some of the concrete hollow tiles off another dugout, and left the pieces on the pitcher's mound.

"It seems like it's getting progressively worse, and it's really hard for us to come out here and have a good solid practice when we're picking up stuff and trying to fix stuff," said parent Billy Eddy. "It takes away from their time on the field and have fun."

The coaches and parents said they've seen a group of high school age boys that they believe are responsible, and police have questioned the teens. But the vandals have to be caught in the act, and the damage happens late at night, after the park closes. "Once the lights are out, it's past ten, 12 o'clock, I guarantee you they're gonna be down here again," said park.

It's a frustrating situation, when one night's damage is cleaned up and fixed, "And then you come the next day and you find something new that you have to deal with," said Park. "And it's kinda heartbreaking for the kids to see all those kinds of things happening, too."

The team is appealing to neighbors to be on the lookout. "If you hear anybody or you see anything, take pictures or call the police," said Cockett. "If we come together as a community, we can solve this problem."

"I wish that the kids that are doing this or the people who are doing this would stop," said Eddy. "That's really all I want."

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