A day after it was stolen, a Hawaiian musician is reunited with a priceless item

A day after it was stolen, a Hawaiian musician is reunited with a priceless item
Band member Chris Kamaka played the instrument for Japan's prince and princess just two days prior. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Band member Chris Kamaka played the instrument for Japan's prince and princess just two days prior. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ho'okena musician Chris Kamaka has been reunited with a priceless item: his 70-year-old bass instrument.

Kamaka was heartbroken after the large item was taken from his car in Kakaako Thursday morning.

He was parked on South Street just across Kamaka Ukulele when he noticed his back passenger window was shattered and the instrument — a three-quarter size kay bass — was missing.

"They must've been pretty desperate," Kamaka said. "They must've been scoping out the place and then just saw the instrument, broke my window, (and) just had time enough to grab it and run."

He's owned the instrument and played the same one for 30 years of his performing career. On Friday, he said a fellow band member coordinated the return.

"I couldn't sleep! I made it my mission to find Lahela!  Ask my wife, I couldn't sleep and was rolling around all night!" band member Horace Dudoit said.

Dudoit and police were reportedly in contact with the possible suspect. Kamaka told Hawaii News Now Dudoit somehow managed to encourage the alleged suspect into returning the item.

"Horace called me and told me that they were going to drop it off at the Kalihi Zippys, so he told me to go over there and pick it up, and it should be there," Kamaka said. "It's nice to have her back. I appreciate it."

Just two days before the theft, Kamaka used it to perform for the Prince and Princess of Japan at a reception at Washington Place.

"There's nothing like it, you know. It's just real meaningful for our family. For me and my family," he said.

Police have since questioned the suspect, but no charges have been filed.

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