Pair of thieves steal food from Kalihi homeless shelter

KALIHI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An ongoing problem at a homeless shelter in Kalihi is finally caught on camera.

Surveillance video at the Institute for Human Services on Kaaahi Street revealed a pair of thieves stealing more than thirty pounds of banana from the shelter's garden last week.

The cameras, installed less than two weeks ago, show two men get out of their SUV, chop the branch and take off. The incident occurred shortly before 3 p.m. last week Sunday. Theft cases like this have been an issue at the facility for more than two years.

"We've had this happen several times before not only on the men's side but also on the women's side," Director of Facilities and Operations Gordon Ortiz said. "We've never caught anybody so it was surprising that this system was in the right place at the right time."

Employees say it's an unfortunate situation because of the fact that the unknowing thieves stole from more than just a garden.

"It's unfortunate because we use it for our kids program and to feed the clients," Ortiz said. "We've had the tree from when it was a keiki all the way until we got this nice big bunch of probably 30 or 40 pounds of banana. For somebody to just come and take it is pretty sad."

Ortiz said they thought the thieves were neighborhood clients, however, they now realize it's people from the outside.

"It's sad because they're very bold, they're doing it in the middle of the day," Ortiz said. "You've got Kmart right across the street with people driving back and forth. It's just that people don't care, they just walk into your place."

Employees at the center have a message they would like to share with the thieves.

"Remember who they're taking it from. You're taking it from people that don't have anything and that care for the garden so it's really sad that people have to do that for their own benefit," Ortiz said.

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