Young theater students are heartbroken after thieves ransacked a local performing arts center in Windward Oahu stealing thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
Fifth through eighth graders at the Castle Performing Arts Center in Kaneohe have been rehearsing for their upcoming musical Annie since November. With just weeks before opening show, the children feel betrayed.
"To me, it's not right that those people just came in here and took stuff because we rely on that stuff so that we can put on a play for people to love," said Kahaluu Elementary School fifth grader Roxy Burke.
Karen Meyer, the Ronald E. Bright Theater director, noticed the equipment missing Wednesday morning. She believes the thieves struck Tuesday night after everyone went home from rehearsal.
"The piano keyboard, the 24-channel Mackie, that's the sound board, lighter saw," said Meyer.
Meyer said the burglars stole about $10,000 worth of sound equipment and tools helped to make sets.
Meyer said luckily they didn't get everything.
"This was full of tools," she said holding up an empty trash can.
Meyer thinks the crooks accidentally locked themselves out of the theater, or got spooked, because the large trash can, full of heavy-duty tools, was found near the door.
Castle Performing Arts Center is home to thousands of students across the island and it’s named after Hawaii's legendary theater director Ronald E. Bright.
Meyer said the theater does not have surveillance cameras and there were no signs of forced entry.
Assistant Director and Stage Manager Laura Sato said it seems as if the burglars knew exactly where to look.
"When we don't have shows, this is where we store our tech equipment….we have mic boxes, old CD players…you can see that it's been rummaged through. All the mic cases are open, we’re missing battery packs," Sato said.
Meyer and the students want the criminals to come forward, or at the very least, return what was stolen from them.
"They don't know what they're doing, they really don't. They don't realize that this isn't just a school, this isn't just an institution. This is people's home, this is where their heart is, and when you take from them, you take from all the kids and the entire Kaneohe community," said Meyer.