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Thieves repeatedly ripping off downtown bar

By Justin Fujioka
Published On: May 10 2013 09:26:00 PM HST

A downtown Honolulu bar is being repeatedly ripped off by thieves. The owner says a meaningful memento has been stolen multiple times with the latest snatching happening this week.

HONOLULU -

Downtown Honolulu has always had a bit of a sketchy reputation.

It's one reason Gelareh Khoie opened thirtyninehotel nine years ago.

"We just wanted a place for artists and musicians to be able to showcase their work, especially a little bit more modern art as opposed to island style," Khoie said.

Since day one, Buddha has been the centerpiece of the patio at thirtyninehotel.

"The Buddha has a lot of significance for me," said Khoie. "I've been studying Buddhism for many years and I just wanted it sort of like a guardian to watch over this space and look over everyone."

Khoie said she believes a customer stole the Buddha Wednesday night. "It takes, even with alcohol in your system, it takes that going that extra mile to steal something that is sacred and I think stealing is wrong in general."

It's the fifth Buddha taken from thirtyninehotel, according to Khoie. She said her first and second Buddha were gifts from Thailand and Japan, the third she bought from an Indian store in New York and the last two from a local antique store.

"Wow, that blows my mind," said thirtyninehotel customer David Tveraas. "I don't know who would steal that. That seems like, that's sacrilege right there."

"Honestly, if someone asked me for it, I would hand it over to right away," Khoie added.

Khoie said these thefts haven't changed her faith.

"No theft is going to stop me from replacing the Buddha," said Khoie.

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