Three boat owners are missing their motors following a series of thefts at Honokohau Harbor that are believed to be related.
Thieves likely working in a pair unbolted motors and cut cables and made off with fuel lines, a fuel tank and electronics from an unlit back corner of the Kona Sailing Club.
The stolen property is estimated at $5,000. Among the missing items is a white 2004, 9.9 horsepower Evinrude motor from the safety boat the Big Island Sailing Foundation uses to oversee youth sailing groups.
“Chances are someone will come across someone trying to sell them, or see them in someone’s garage,” foundation treasurer Daniel Starsong said. “My guess is they’ll show up in Hilo or Ka‘u.”
A 2011 Yamaha High Thrust 8 horsepower motor valued at $2,000 and a 2008 Yamaha 4 horsepower short shaft motor valued at $1,500 were also stolen. Police are investigating the thefts, which are believed to have occurred sometime between April 6 and 9.
Two of the motors are bulky and weigh more than 100 pounds each. The thieves would have lugged the machinery about 200 feet from the back of the lot to pull off the theft, Starsong said.
“This is an ongoing thing at Honokohau,” he said. “Lots of charter boats have had rods stolen.”
The harbor does not have a security force. The Hawaii Police Department has been asked to patrol the harbor and officers do so when they have time, said Daniel Mersburgh, Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation interim Hawaii district manager. But fishing gear, electronics and scuba gear are easy targets for theft, he acknowledged.
“For things that are easy to grab and walk away with, you might want to consider loading into your truck and taking with you every day. Even if it is a hassle,” Mersburgh said.
The Kona Sailing Club has considered a fence to run all the way around the club, mounting surveillance cameras or hiring a full-time security guard.
“I’ve talked to a lot of fishermen who would pitch in for security,” Starsong said.
Thieves know they can take advantage of areas of poor lighting to pretty well walk in and take what they want, said Joel Michaelson, owner of one of the motors.
“I believe there is an element in Kona that knows there is a resource for their needs in places without surveillance,” Michaelson said.
The boaters have notified police and the harbor office and plan to put up fliers to inform the public, Starsong said.