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Police arrest suspect for arson in connection with large blaze at Waikiki surfboard racks

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 11:18 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 3:52 PM HST
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WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police have arrested the man they believe set fire to surfboard racks in Waikiki over the weekend, causing more than $650,000 in damage.

And HPD sources confirm it’s not the first time he’s been accused of arson.

Plainclothes officers arrested Glenn Helton on Tuesday morning just blocks from the scene of the crime at Princess Kaiulani Triangle Park.

Law enforcement sources provided HNN with images from a surveillance camera showing the 48-year-old at the surf racks Sunday.

Police haven’t officially said what the video shows.

Sources also confirm Helton appeared to be wearing the same clothes on Oct. 9 when he was recorded starting another fire inside a trash can.

That blaze caused damage at an apartment complex on Lewers Street.

Those who witnessed Sunday’s fire were glad to learn of the arrest.

“I think it brings a lot of peace to a lot of people,” said Dive Oahu beach boy Chad Williams.

But many remain puzzled by the suspect’s alleged actions.

“It’s senseless. You know some of those boards have been local’s grandparents boards. You know lots of history,” Williams said.

Sadie Grodinsky added, “I’m glad they caught the person.”

Nearly 600 boards burned in Sunday’s fire while neighboring businesses sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

It’s the second time in less than two years that the surf racks have been torched.

Jill Hansen works next door at San Lorenzo Waikiki. “Hopefully it won’t happen ever again,” she said.

Charges against Helton are pending.

He is the second person arrested in connection with this case. A 43-year-old taken into custody immediately after the fire was later released.

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