A nonprofit was struck by thieves for a third time in just months

Published On: Feb 01 2014 05:58:18 PM HST   Updated On: Feb 01 2014 06:49:58 PM HST

Struck by thieves for a third time in just months. A nonprofit that oversees Kumuola Farm in Manoa says the organization is hurting.

Click here to watch Nana Ohkawa's story.

Pauline Navales takes care of 5.5 acres of land deep in the valley. The nonprofit she started, Kumuola Foundation, is dedicated to cultivating native plants and preserving Hawaiian culture. However, her crucial farming tools continue to get stolen. In April, September, and now once again.

"People coming up and stealing from a nonprofit like us, it hurts us because we don't have much moneys or grant moneys to have many of these tools available," said Navales.

A cutter, chainsaw and weed whacker were all kept in a Matson container. Another nonprofit had just donated the three tools to Kumuola when they were stolen last time. The damage adds up to more than one $1,000 each time.

"What we had was a lock on this latch here. People came and with our digging stick, they broke the lock. The second time they actually cut through this lock, removing the now durable lock," described Navales.

She said after this container was broken into for a second time, she installed a heavy-duty lock but that didn't stop the thief or thieves from getting to the equipment again.

This recent time, they climbed up the container then down the vent. The front gate was found still locked, so Navales said whoever stole the tools would have to walk almost half a mile to get back out. She said the theft is hurting the organization's community outreach that teaches kids and adults about native plants for cultural practices, art and food.

"We just planted this Kalo here. A lot of times it's weeding and mulching to keep the invasive away," said Navales.

She plans to hold a fundraiser to purchase security cameras and bars for the container's vent.


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