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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, November 13, 2003

'Ukulele returned, no strings attached

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

A signature baritone 'ukulele stolen last weekend from entertainer Kahauanu Lake's Kaimuki studio was returned Tuesday night to its owner.

Kahauanu Lake's 'ukulele, valued at $5,000, was returned to him in good condition, but without its strings.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

"It shows you the public cares about things like this," Lake said.

Lake said his prized 'ukulele was returned at 8:30 p.m., an hour after he received a telephone call from a man about the musical instrument.

"He said he bought it from a young boy for $20," Lake said. "The gentleman brought it over to me. He didn't want any money but said he would accept two autographed CDs."

The man who returned the 'ukulele is from Palolo but Lake declined to identify him.

Lake's 'ukulele, made of rare kolohala wood from Maui, was crafted for him in 1974 by the late K.C. Young. Lake's name is displayed prominently on the face of the 'ukulele.

The instrument was returned in good condition but without strings, said Lake, who estimates the 'ukulele's value at $5,000.

A Na Hoku Hanohano Lifetime Achievement Award winner and member of the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Lake is pleased to have his No. 1 'ukulele back and will be taking it to Hilo on Sunday for a benefit concert.

Lake discovered the 'ukulele missing from his studio in the Jade Building on 9th Avenue after returning from a trip to Maui. The theft was reported on Sunday.

'Ukulele are a prime target for thieves.

From Aug. 1 through Nov. 3, burglary/theft investigators from the Honolulu Police Department's East Honolulu District, where Lake's office is, received nine reports of stolen 'ukulele. Six of the 'ukulele were taken in home burglaries, two from vehicles and another was shoplifted, police said.