Waimea community shocked, distraught over senseless vandalism

  • A map of the Waimea locations where vandalism occurred on Nov. 8. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Damage and overturned playground equipment discovered at Waimea Middle School on Nov. 8 results in at least $3,000. (Courtesy photo)
  • A North Hawaii Community Hospital sign was broken on Oct. 17. Weeks later on Nov. 8, there were multiple incidents of vandalism around town, resulting in damages in excess of $10,000. (Courtesy photo)

  • Damage discovered at Waimea Middle School on Nov. 8 results in at least $3,000. (Courtesy photo)
  • Damage discovered at Waimea Middle School on Nov. 8 results in at least $3,000. Courtesy photo

KAILUA-KONA — Police have increased their patrols after a vandalism spree was discovered in Waimea, resulting in excess of $10,000 in damage.

“It’s just a destruction of property,” Capt. Sherry Bird with Hawaii Police Department said Friday.

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Bird said the vandalism occurred overnight Nov. 8. The most severe damage was done to the restroom at the Waimea Park Bandstand where at least one toilet and sink were smashed. The surrounding area outside the bathroom was also trashed.

Because of the destruction, the facility has been closed until it can be repaired. While vandalism occurred at several locations in town, Bird said, nothing appeared to be stolen.

The Waimea Elementary and Middle Schools were also victims of vandalism. Janice English, middle school principal, said three windows were damaged on the new Science Technology Engineering Aina Math (STEAM) building, which houses the maker space robotics lab.

The STEAM building was finished in January.

Three of the double-paned windows were smacked repeatedly with rocks, causing them to splinter. The cost to repair them, English said, is $1,000 each. In the meantime, the windows have been boarded up.

“The kids feel violated,” English said Friday. “Their building and campus was violated. They feel sad that someone would vandalize their building.”

The destruction is evidence of anger, English added.

There were also four screens ripped out of windows on portables.

The chaos didn’t stop at the middle school. There was a mess discovered at the elementary school, where preschool toys and signs were overturned and a lock to a shed holding tools was broken. Nothing was taken.

“There was no logic to it,” English added. “There was no pattern to it.”

The principal said it will take six weeks for the windows to be repaired. The school also plans to add $20,000 worth of interior and exterior surveillance cameras on campus.

“I would say kids are disappointed that a small group of people would create such havoc in their community,” English said.

Aside from the park restroom and schools, there were other smaller instances of vandalism throughout Waimea on Nov. 8, which included broken building and car windows.

Patti Cook, president of the Waimea Community Association, recalled broken windows and messes caused in various places along Mamalahoa Highway and Kawaihae Road.

Cook said broken windows were found at the Firehouse Gallery at Waimea Arts Council and the Waimea ReStore Habitat for Humanity. The back window of a van was smashed at the Lily Yoshimatsu Senior Center. Cook said the vehicle is used to assist kupuna in transportation.

Cook added the culprits rifled through items on the St. James thrift shop porch and turned the table over.

Two portable toilets were also turned over in the Waimea Nature Park.

The door to Village Burger at the Parker Ranch Center had two scratches on it. According to police, it appeared to be made with a pry bar tool.

More recently, Bird said a vehicle by the post office had its window damaged.

“I’m not aware of a series of property damage of this greatness in such a short amount of time,” Bird said. “Everyone is disappointed that someone would do this. It’s sad that someone would do this.”

Cook added she got news of vandalism on Oct. 17 when someone sent her a picture of a damaged sign at North Hawaii Community Hospital.

“It’s been an ongoing thing,” Cook said. “We’re asking people to report if they hear or see something.”

Cook said the damage done to the town is heartbreaking.

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“We need to be focused on our kids and not cleaning up vandalism,” she said.

Anyone with information or tips about the incidents of vandalism can call Hawaii Police at 935-3311.