(BIVN) – Four vehicles used to assist the elderly were destroyed by fire on Sunday, and the Hawaiʻi County Mayor is speaking out against the act of vandalism.
From the County of Hawaiʻi:
Mayor Mitch Roth condemns the actions of arsonists who are responsible for the destruction of four County of Hawaiʻi vehicles utilized by the Department’s Elderly Activities Division. The Department of Parks and Recreation reported that the vehicles were stored at the Kamana Senior Center in Hilo and destroyed by fire on Sunday, May 22. No suspects have been identified at this time. The cost of damages amounts to roughly $100,000.
“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 Mayor Mitch 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.”
“These vehicles were used for elderly transportation services and meal deliveries to home-bound seniors, so the idea of someone setting them on fire is senseless to me,” said Maurice Messina, Director of Parks and Recreation. “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.”
Parks and Recreation is asking for public assistance to notify law enforcement immediately if you see active vandalism or theft at any County park and/or beach. Additionally, if damage or vandalism is found at any County park and/or beach, please inform Parks and Recreation as soon as possible at (808) 961-8311.
“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.
To report information about the vehicle fires at the Kamana Senior Center, please contact the Police non-emergency number at 935-3311, officials say.