County seeks info four torched Elderly Activities Division vehicles

County of Hawaii photo The county is seeking information on an arsonist or arsonists who destroyed four vehicles Sunday at the Kamana Senior Activities Center in Hilo.

Mayor Mitch Roth issued a statement Tuesday condemning the actions an arsonist or arsonists who on Sunday torched four Department of Parks and Recreation vehicles.

According to the county, damage to the vehicles, used by the Elderly Activities Division and stored at the Kamana Senior Center in Hilo, amounts to roughly $100,000.


No suspects have yet been identified.

“It’s a shame to think that there are folks in our community who would intentionally destroy vehicles that are specifically meant to serve our kupuna,” said Roth. “We urge anyone who sees or hears of this type of activity to report it directly to the police. We will not stand for it and will ensure that any individual who attempts this type of egregious action is punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Parks and Recreation Director Maurice Messina said the vehicles were used for “elderly transportation services and meal deliveries to home-bound seniors.”

“The idea of someone setting them on fire is senseless to me,” Messina said. “Over the last year, we’ve had numerous instances of vandalism at this facility, including vehicle gas lines cut, catalytic converters stolen, and break-ins at the office and storage lockers. We are trying to identify additional funds for security at the Kamana Senior Center, but our security budget is already stretched to over $1 million island-wide.”

The county is self-insured.

“We are in constant struggle with people who do not respect our public facilities and feel that vandalizing County vehicles to steal gas or breaking into our maintenance supply rooms to rip off cleaning supplies has no consequences. Every time we have to repair a vandalized facility or replace stolen equipment, it costs public tax dollars which should be used in other areas like programs and services,” said Messina.

Parks and Recreation is asking for the public to notify them as soon as possible at (808) 961-8311 if you see active vandalism or theft at any county park beach, or facility.

To report information about the vehicle fires, call the police nonemergency number at (808) 935-3311.

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