'Why a school?' Thieves target greenhouse at Waipahu High

Thieves steal tables, damage native plants from Waipahu High's greenhouse
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIPAHU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Waipahu High School officials say their campus has been a constant target of theft and vandalism.

And now, crooks are stealing from the school's greenhouse, where students have spent months growing native plants.

"Why a school? Why students? They have a hard time as it is. The teachers here and the administration is working hard to provide all these learning opportunities and they're disappearing right before our eyes," said Jeff Garvey, Waipahu's Natural Resources Academy teacher.

Garvey said the thieves have been breaking into the greenhouse through the back fence.

He says they stole at least 13 tables, damaged the irrigation system, and left pipes and plants all over the ground.

"Just scattered everywhere. Broken pots all the way to the end of the fence. It was just devastating. It felt like a hurricane came through here," said Argie Arellano, a junior in the academy.

"What hurt more was just seeing our koa, which took almost half a year to grow even a few inches," he said.

School officials estimate the damage to be around $4,000.

They say they don't know who would steal from them, but there have been problems with homeless individuals from nearby encampments coming onto campus.

"We come in ready to start class and there's rubbish and defecation. It's terrible," said Garvey.

Garvey said he wants the community's help with keeping an eye on the school after hours and to report any sighting of their stolen tables.

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