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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Theft dirty part of life in paradise

By Christine Strobel
Advertiser Columnist

Are we surrounded by dirt-bags on this island?

I have to ask because it seems like everyone I know has been robbed including me, as of last weekend.

Now mine was no big deal. Some punk ran up, snatched my purse from my hand, dove into a waiting car of friends and took off. He got my bag, wallet, keys, sunglasses and lip gloss (not his color). Only $14 was in the wallet, and I was able to cancel the credit cards before they got abused.

But then the real fun began. Filled out a police report. Crashed on a friend's floor until sun-up when the locksmith could come break into my apartment and change the locks ($80). Closed down my bank account and transferred assets to a new one in case these dirt bags tried to use my ID to impersonate me. Got a new driver's license.

But, all in all, not anything that couldn't be replaced. Important thing was I wasn't hurt, and they didn't get my brand new video-enabled iPod, which I hadn't even had a week. If that got snatched, I would have gone nuclear.

I have lived here for 20 years and this is the first time I got jacked. Not too bad.

Others, not so lucky. Living here, this is as much a part of life as plate lunch.

Since last weekend, I've been inundated with tales of theft ... from the waitress at the Halekulani who had her car broken into six times ...

... the lovely woman at First Hawaiian who helped me with my exposed bank account she was robbed at gunpoint in her own home (she said those particular dirt bags, who were on a spree from town to Hawai'i Kai, were captured) ...

... and my dad and I reminisced over the $1,500 in tools stolen from his home a couple years ago.

Those are just snapshots. Add to them the nuisance thefts in the news lately the copper wiring ripped from the freeway street lights, the valves taken from public toilets ...

There were more than 20,000 property crimes in Honolulu in the first six months of 2005 the latest figures available from the FBI. That's down from previous years.

Lots of dirtbags around.

And it isn't just drugs, and it isn't just limited access to good education.

It's dirtbags bred in unstable families, or idiots falling in with nests of dirtbags because they won't heed family, counselors or the law.

I'll leave it to more compassionate people to do the reaching out.

But I think we should just round 'em up and dump 'em on one of the unused northwestern islands.

They already have the parts to build the toilets.

Reach Christine Strobel at cstrobel@honoluluadvertiser.com.