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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 30, 2010

Two-bit thieves pester Kauai

By Lee Cataluna

Kaua'i police are on the lookout for a guy who bought a steak and lobster dinner for four of his friends and paid for the whole thing in quarters.

Not really, but maybe they should be.

There has been a rash of vending machine thefts on the Garden Island. Thieves have even made off with The Garden Island newspaper racks for the stash of quarters inside. In the dead of night (which happens on Kaua'i around 8:30 p.m. ... just kidding) thieves are yanking on soda machines, ATMs, newspaper racks, whatevers. And sometimes, they yank hard enough to pull one loose.

Consider this April 27 news release from the KPD:

"Unknown suspects broke into the supply room of the laundromat at Eleele Shopping Center some time between last night and this morning. They took the change machine off the wall and made off with it, leaving a trail of quarters behind."

Unfortunately, the trail of quarters ended in the parking lot next to the burn-rubber tire marks.

A similar crime was reported in Kōloa. A soda machine was found on Waikomo Road, less than a mile away from its home outside the Koloa Big Save. There was speculation as to whether the thieves were after the money or the soda. Or both.

Meanwhile, The Garden Island newspaper is offering a $250 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves responsible for jacking racks around the island. There's even a YouTube video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=SckJnQucS0k) of one of the thefts, which occurred outside Bucky's Liquor. You can see an SUV-load of beefy guys drive up, reverse, go forward, reverse again, then lumber out of the car and hoist the entire newspaper rack off the sidewalk. The accompanying description says $60 in coins was in that machine. Sixty dollars! The Garden Island is doing way better than The Advertiser.

In addition, there was the attempted theft of an ATM from Anchor Cove Shopping Center last week. The effort wasn't successful, but the machine was damaged.

Kaua'i police urge businesses with unattended machines in accessible areas to take necessary precautions, and add: "Motorists, pedestrians and anyone else who notices pickup trucks carrying the above mentioned machines especially during the late night and early morning hours are asked to call police dispatch or CrimeStoppers."

If your neighbor is dragging a Coke dispenser into his carport and buying a new car with dollar bills, that might be a clue.