Makiki residents looking for answers after cars damaged with acid

Makiki residents claim to be targets of hate crimes after vehicles damaged with acid
Image: Joy Rucker
Image: Joy Rucker
Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now
Image: Hawaii News Now

MAKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Over the last three years, Makiki residents say they've had to shell out thousands after one or more culprits threw acid on their vehicles.

The first incident happened in 2013 at Ohana Kewalo apartments, when Krys Romanczak's Nissan Leaf was totaled.

"Insurance adjusters said that it was something of an airport grade (acid), they don't know if it was an engine cleaner or a paint remover," Romanczak said.

In 2014, it happened again to Romanczak and to three other tenants' vehicles. The second incident prompted property managers to install a surveillance system, which eventually came in handy a year later.

That's how a culprit was caught in the act committing the crime. The problem: Police told residents the video wasn't enough to warrant any arrests.

"They kept saying we don't have enough evidence, or we're doing forensic analysis and we're gathering more evidence," said Romanczak.

Romanczak doesn't believe the vandalism is random.

He believes he's the victim of a hate crime for being gay. He and the other victims filed numerous police reports, but he says he hasn't heard from detectives in eight months.

"The amount of times it's happened, the harassing letters we've gotten mailed to us with explicit homophobic language from this person is a clear indication that this is our only enemy," Romanczak said.

Romanczak says a total of six cars were vandalized with acid, costing nearly $95,000 in damage.

And he believes one of his neighbors is behind the property damage.

He added that the attacks have left him and others shaken. One former tenant moved to Maui after her Mercedez Benz was damaged by acid, costing her almost $7,000.

Romanczak is asking his neighbors to be on the lookout, and wants more support from the community.

"I need sleep at night," Romanczak said. "We have rolling brigades going on where we're watching the cameras or stepping outside and walking the dogs at the late hours of the morning."

Hawaii News Now reached out to Honolulu police to check the status of the investigation, but did not receive a response.

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