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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, March 12, 2010

Police investigating evidence in Maui house fire that may signal hate crime

The Maui News

WAILUKU Police detectives are reviewing surveillance videos of vehicles that were seen entering and leaving the main entrance of the gated Kapalua community where a fire Saturday evening gutted a six-bedroom house.

The fire, reported at 5:42 p.m. and believed to have been intentionally set, caused an estimated $5.5 million in damage to the 14,000-square-foot house at 226 Keowa St. and $3 million to its contents.

Police said they are investigating evidence that hinted at a hate crime toward the victim after the words "payback haole" were etched into a van parked near the residence in the Honolua Ridge subdivision.

But police said they are looking at other possibilities as well, and the fire may not have been a hate crime. The first-degree arson investigation is continuing.

No one was injured in the fire, which wasn't extinguished until 12:48 a.m. Sunday.

At the time of the fire, homeowner Greg Brown was vacationing in Colorado with his children and fiancee, Julie Mitchell. Livestock, including horses, cows and sheep, that were normally kept on the property were grazing at Launiupoko when the fire occurred.

Brown, a Realtor, estimated the damage was higher, at about $10 million.

The house had been listed for sale for nearly $13 million.

An investigation showed there were multiple points of origin for the fire, adding to its suspicious nature, police said.

The subdivision is near Honolua Bay and above the Plantation Estates Golf Course.