Family burglarized during memorial service for legendary surfer

Exclusive: Family burglarized during memorial service for legendary surfer

KANEOHE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As family gathered to remember legendary surfer Montgomery 'Buttons' Kaluhiokalani Friday, a burglar was breaking into their Kaneohe home.

"This front door was wide open," says Kamrin Kaikuana, Buttons' nephew.

Kaikuana was the first one to return home after the memorial service at Waikiki Beach.

He found drawers open, doors pried, and the home in disarray.

"They went through everything," says Kaikuana.

Electronics, clothes, school books, even makeup were among the items stolen.  But the thief seemed to target jewelry.  Some were family heirlooms, including their grandmother's wedding ring.

The break in happened about five o'clock Friday evening, while the family remembered 'Buttons' with a ceremony at Waikiki Beach, then a 'paddle out'.  'Buttons' learned to surf there years ago.  The 54-year old died of cancer in November.

The memorial service was well publicized and the family believes they may have been targeted.

"It was a big family event," says Kaikuana.  "No cars in the driveway, no cars on the street."

Neighbor Cleo Kanai saw a loud truck pull into the family garage during the service.  She describes it as a dirty, brown, low rider.  It was noisy.  She remembers the chrome on the truck was rusted.  Kanai saw the silhouette of the driver, but didn't get a good look at him.  She says the truck left after about five minutes. She didn't learn about the burglary until after Kaikuana got home.

"My gut felt funny and I felt bad," Kanai says.

The family hopes someone who can help solve this crime will call Honolulu Police or crimestoppers.

Kaikuana says the family wants the items back, especially the family heirlooms.  He is angry that a thief could stoop so low, and steal from a family in mourning.

"Pretty insulting," he says, "It angered me."

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