While Kona was recovering from Memorial Day weekend, thieves were busy making off with five cars from a Kailua-Kona towing company.
Thieves apparently cut through a chain securing a gate to a holding yard at T &T Towing on Hulikoa Street, used a vehicle to shove nonmobile cars out of their way and ransacked other cars on their way through, said Kumai Obrey, office manager at the towing company. The theft likely occurred sometime Monday night.
“They tried to steal anything that started,” Obrey said. “They would have stolen everything if they could.”
Missing cars include a light green 2008 Toyota RAV4, a white 1990 Honda sedan with damage to the right rear passenger door, a blue 2004 Toyota 4Runner with damage to the rear, a gray 2013 Honda Ridgeline with damage to the right front bumper and a white 2006 Ford 150 Extra Cab with a toolbox and a blue stripe.
Tracks left after the rain stopped that night showed where thieves had pushed the nondriving vehicles out of the way, damaging the cars, Obrey said.
“We think there may even have been a tow truck involved,” Obrey said. “We were surprised the RAV4 even made it out of the lot. The front right tire was ready to fall off and the suspension was shot. If they drove it out, it couldn’t have made it far.”
Keys were left in the vehicles because they were frequently moved around the lot, which was why the company took the precaution of barricading them with nonoperating cars, Obrey said.
“But these guys were on a mission,” she said.
Police are investigating the thefts, Hawaii Police Department Lt. Daniel Mlakar said. The fact that four of the cars were operable and must have been driven away lead the police to believe that as many as seven people may have been involved in the thefts.
Thieves also tried to jump-start a Chevy lowrider truck, but settled for breaking the passenger side window and stealing the stereo. The thieves ransacked a 1979 Ford truck that had been used by a landscaper, leaving yard work equipment strewn across the ground. Several other cars were also pillaged of rugs, an air filter and other belongings.
The five vehicles stolen were not ones the company had towed, Obrey said. T &T was storing the cars for the auction company Copart.
Thieves have tried to hit the towing company before, unsuccessfully.
“They tried to break in before; you could see where they cut the links,” Obrey said.