Thieves target tourists in North Shore
HALEIWA (KHNL) - They come to Oahu's north shore to take in the beauty of the ocean. But their experience can be spoiled in an instant, and it can have a ripple effect on the tourism industry. It's the all-too-common-crime of car break-ins.
Sharks Cove in Pupukea is a popular place for tourists to snorkel, but something else could be lurking in the parking lot that's not as friendly as the tranquil water of the tide pools. For some, it's hard to believe this is a hot-spot for thieves.
"Most of the tourists who are victims of the car break-ins are unaware that there's people breaking into cars," says North Shore Neighborhood Board Chairman Gil Riviere
"We came out here just to watch the waves and spend some time in the water but we really didn't think there would be a theft problem on the north shore," says California Visitor Andrew DeVogelaere.
It's not just Sharks Cove and not only visitors targeted. Two years ago, Alika Dowsett had his whole truck stolen during a day near beach known for its surf.
"Kind of blew me away because I had my kids, had all their stuff inside, you know, it's just unfortunate," says Oahu Resident Alika Dowsett.
Thieves are also getting more brazen. One police offer says more crooks are stealing bags on the beach, while their owners are in the water. Suspects will then find the cars they intend to steal by sounding off the alarm with the keys.
"To have that experience and go home like that, no way. It's a real shame," says Oahu Resident Jean Yamauchi.
While police are doing what they can, some feel harsher penalties should be imposed so thieves will think twice.
"The guys get back on the street and do it again, so a higher level of punishment would probably be in order for the guys doing the crime," says Gil Riviere.
Some tips for visitors to protect themselves from theft include leaving valuables at the hotel, keeping maps out of sight of the car, and not hesitating to report any suspicious activity.