KAILUA-KONA — Hawaii Island police are investigating a burglary that occurred early Monday at Jackie Rey’s Ohana Grill during which the suspect(s) made off with a safe containing thousands of dollars.
The crime occurred about 12:30 a.m., a couple hours after the last staff member left for the night Sunday. Owner Paul Streiter said a person(s) apparently used a saw or other cutting apparatus to remove a sizable section of wall below a window that had metal security grading affixed to gain entry into the Pottery Terrace establishment.
Once inside the restaurant’s dry storage room, the suspect(s) broke through a door to the restaurant’s office. Streiter, along with his wife, Angela Rey, have operated the Kona mainstay for 15 years and opened a Hilo location in 2016.
Streiter said he was awakened early Monday by a notification from his alarm company. He checked his surveillance camera system installed at the restaurant, but there was nothing.
“I don’t even think they knew that this would happen, but when they cut the wall, they cut the power out in the office where the safe was and the camera monitors are,” Streiter said. … “All of our stuff in the office got turned off, which is a real pain because the cameras might have given us a clue of who it was and then the police would have something to go by.”
Inside the office, the suspect(s) took just one thing, the restaurant’s safe. Measuring about 3-4 feet tall and about 2 feet deep, the safe held $2,500, he said.
“It’s a good size safe — you don’t just pick it up with you and your buddy,” Streiter said. “They had to do something or wheel it out. They kind of knew what they were doing.”
Streiter said responding Hawaii Police Department officers conducted an investigation, processing the scene for other evidence. He said police told him they’ve seen other break-ins with a similar MO, or modus operandi, in West Hawaii.
“They were like, ‘oh yeah, this has all the markings of exactly what’s been going on in Waimea,’” he said. “Supposedly, there’s been three break-ins in Waimea that fit the same profile, but that’s hearsay. If it’s the truth, I don’t know.”
Police on Monday afternoon confirmed officers are investigating the Jackie Rey’s burglary in Kona. The department was unable to provide additional details regarding Monday’s incident or break-ins at establishments in Waimea as of press time.
Streiter called Monday’s burglarizing of his restaurant “disappointing,” particularly in the wake of a renovation this summer and during September, typically the slowest month of the year. It’s a hit, but it doesn’t stop the operation. Nor will it impact community events, such as the annual Thanksgiving dinner Jackie Rey’s puts on every year in partnership with the Salvation Army.
“This is a bump in the road, it’s real drag and you shake your head. But in the big picture, nobody got hurt on our crew, no one was injured, no one withstood a robbery,” he said. “We got burgled and it’s a drag.”
Streiter said after the incident he’s reached out to other restaurateurs to caution them of what occurred at his restaurant. He hopes telling his story will prompt the community to keep a vigilant eye, as well.
“We’re not like that little place that just opened, most people know who we are and where we are and we’re established,” Streiter said. “People we tell are like ‘oh man, if those guys got hit, then anybody can get hit,” he said. “We have motion sensors, we have alarm systems — the whole thing. But these guys knew what they were doing.”
Anyone with information on the Jackie Rey’s burglary is encouraged to call the police department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311. Those who prefer anonymity can call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300.