Copper Thieves Strike Sand Island Park - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Copper Thieves Strike Sand Island Park

Steve Thompson Steve Thompson

by Leland Kim

(KHNL) - Thieves broke into the Sand Island Park and stole some valuable wires. The park is now closed as authorities look for clues.

Sand Island Park is quiet, shut down after thieves made it a target.

"People broke into an electrical distribution room that has a large transformer in it that supplies power to a sewage lift pump," said Steve Thompson, a parks program manager with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

They stole about 300 feet of pricey copper wires.

"We believe this occurred last night and it probably took several hours to accomplish," said Thompson.

Beyond the theft itself, there are additional concerns. Without the wires, the pump doesn't work. However, "there was no sewage spill. We have prevented that," said Thompson.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources says thieves knew what they were doing.

"I believe this person or persons had to have electrical knowledge to keep from getting electrocuted," said Thompson.

This is the third such copper theft case on O'ahu in recent months.

Almost two weeks ago, police charged Alden Kaupiko with stealing utility pole copper wires near the Koko Head Trail.

And in September, thieves dug up copper wiring along a stretch of the H-1 freeway from Kunia to Makakilo.

Authorities don't know if theses cases are linked. But they are frustrated, especially here where upgrades are in the works.

"We're making a number of improvements to the park and now, all of that is set back even further because of this," said Thompson.

The park will remain closed until authorities complete their investigation. The cost to replace the wires could be up to $100,000. At this time, there are no suspects.

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