Peer-to-peer rentals contributing to spike in car thefts on Maui: Police

One big problem: Lock boxes.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:34 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:11 PM HST

KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui Police Department officials say auto thefts are on the rise at the Kahului Airport.

They said there were seven car thefts from the airport public parking lot in January, nine in February, and 12 in March.

Authorities said the most common vehicle stolen was a Toyota and several of the stolen vehicles were Turo vehicles, which are illegally parked on the property.

Turo said in a statement that “these incidents are uncommon in our marketplace, with over 99.9% of trips ending without any significant incidents.”

State and county officials said Turo vehicles are often easy targets for thieves.

“If they see a lockbox on your car, that pretty much tells a person that there’s a key inside that lock box,” said Hawaii Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jai Cunningham.

“If you do have that on your car, it’s kind of an advertisement.”

Authorities say once the thief is in the car, they often just plow through the fence, leaving airport officials to fix the damage.

In an effort to stop these things from happening, the state Department of Transportation recently partnered with the Maui Police Department to help cite cars parked illegally on property.

“I’m not too surprised with the car thefts,” said Kahului Airport employee Hiilei Morrison.

Morrison has been working at the Kahului Airport for 20 years.

He’s urging Turo to quickly find a designated parking lot off airport property because he says Turo vehicles have recently taken up most of the parking stalls.

“It’s very hard to find parking. So, I ended up having to move to another parking lot, another location,” Morrison said.

Turo said it is working with the airports division on parking solutions. In the meantime, reminds the community to conduct vehicle exchanges off airport property.

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