Thieves prowl Oahu neighborhoods in U-Haul van before carting off stolen items
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents of a quiet Ewa Beach community are uneasy after surveillance footage captured thieves canvassing the area and making away with household items.
The suspects’ choice of a getaway vehicle: A U-Haul van.
“It’s kind of scary knowing that people just come around and try to take peoples things,” resident Troy Egloria said.
He’s lived in Ewa Beach’s North Park subdivision with his family for about a year and a half, building solid bonds with his neighbors.
“Our street is pretty tight-knit. We all communicate pretty well with each other,” he said. “Everybody talks to each other and everybody’s friendly in this neighborhood.”
North Park is a fairly new Gentry development with some homes still under construction. So residents were shocked to discover their neighborhood was targeted by thieves driving a U-Haul van earlier this week.
Around 1:45 a.m. Monday, surveillance video caught a U-Haul van pulling up on Egloria’s street and stopping under a bright street light. Two suspects with their faces covered got out and calmly began looking into people’s vehicles.
One of them takes a cooler out of the back of a truck. The other reaches into a car and takes what appears to be a pair of shoes before they get back into the U-Haul and drive away.
Egloria’s security cameras also captured them casing the neighborhood, driving through at least twice.
He said thieves recently tried to steal catalytic converters right in people’s driveways. His car was targeted until a neighbor helped scare them away.
“They were able to cut through it and my alarm went off, and that’s when they bugged out,” Egloria said.
A local U-Haul office said they are aware of the use of their van in this crime spree, and the case is under investigation. Similar reports involving U-Hauls have also come out of the Pearl City and Aiea areas.
A company spokesperson says they work closely with law enforcement to ensure suspected criminals are caught and prosecuted. In this case, it’s unclear if the van was legally rented or stolen.
Police urge everyone to be vigilant and secure their homes and vehicles overnight. Motion-activated lights, security cameras and a watchful eye can sometimes be the best crime deterrent.
“People need to be mindful that crime is occurring across the whole island — they won’t target any particular area,” said Sgt. Chris Kim, of Honolulu CrimeStoppers.
“Don’t think that just because you live in a certain neighborhood that it’s not going to happen to you.”
While North Park doesn’t have round-the-clock security, Egloria says their neighborly bond serves as an unofficial community watch.
”Just be aware of your surroundings and talk to your neighbors. Make sure they know what’s going on,” he said.
At last check Friday, police said no arrests have been made in the case, and it remains under investigation.
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