Gas prices are soaring in Maui County. So is gas theft

And one nonprofit on Maui has been hit hard.
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 6:41 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 21, 2022 at 6:47 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PUUNENE (HawaiiNewsNow) - As gas prices have soared, fuel theft in Maui County has quadrupled from last year, according to the Maui Police Department.

Officials at a well-known non-profit organization on the Valley Isle have a message for the public after falling victim themselves.

Maui Economic Opportunity has been serving the community for 58 years.

The non-profit organization provides about 200,000 rides a year to Maui County residents. Routes are available seven days week for those in need.

Last month, they experienced an unexpected setback.

“She went to do her pre-trip inspection just to make sure that the vehicle was OK. She realized that there wasn’t enough fuel. So, she attempted to refuel, and it began dumping through. So, then she did a check and realize that the lines had been cut,” said MEO Transportation Director Patty-Ann Copperfield.

Images from MEO show the severed gas line on not one, but two of MEO’s buses.

Nearly a month later, the gas stains on the ground are still visible.

“We’ve been hit so many times. We’ve been hit not just at our transportation facility, but in Hana, and out at our farm in Ke Kahua. So, you know, all of that just puts us back a little bit farther,” said MEO CEO Debbie Cabebe.

According to MPD, officers have responded to 58 gas thefts from Jan. 1 to July 7 of this year.

That’s compared to 14 theft calls the same time in 2021.

“Especially because we’re still processing coming out of COVID. A lot of people have been affected financially with our economy. And they unfortunately, they’re turning to means that we’d hope they wouldn’t,” Copperfield said.

Despite these setbacks, MEO officials say it is not stopping them from serving the people of Maui.

“We’re here if you need help and you really are in need of money or something. We can’t give you cash, but there are other ways that we could probably help you that would be probably much more beneficial to you and to the community,” Cabebe said.

For MEO services, call (808) 249-2990.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.