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BACK IN THE DAY | NOV. 20, 1967

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Isle Paradise lures unhappy teens

Mainland runaways coming to Hawaii in increasing numbers

LAST UPDATED: 2:05 a.m. HST, Nov 21, 2011

Every Sunday, "Back in the Day" looks at an article that ran on this date in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The items are verbatim, so don't blame us today for yesteryear's bad grammar.


A "tremendous" increase in Mainland teen-aged runaways to Hawaii was reported today by the Juvenile Crime Prevention Bureau of the Honolulu Police Department.

Captain Kenneth C. Cundiff, division chief, said the runaways are usually aged 15 through 17 and have been coming from the East, as well as the West Coast. ...

"Some of them planned the whole thing. Hawaii, they figured, would be paradise or something."

"But others," he said, "have come here on the spur of the moment. Like this one boy who worked in a department store in Boston. He was supposed to buy postage stamps or something. He helped himself to the till -- about $1,000 or so -- and took the first plane over here.

"The boy turned himself in to us after he spent all the money." Capt. Cundiff said, it's not unusual for these youngsters to turn themselves in.

In another case, he said, "a boy and a girl were sitting on our doorstep right here at the station waiting for us one morning."

The pair came here from the East, signed the Royal Hawaiian Hotel register as man and wife and really "lived it up," according to the captain.

... "They ran up all kinds of charges at the hotel, buying fancy clothes and jewelry. The management of the hotel began getting suspicious and asked for some payment on the charges. The boy wrote a bogus check, and that's when they started to really get scared and decided to turn themselves in."

... Statistics on Mainland runaways here were not immediately available, but Cundiff said: "There's no question about it. We've had a tremendous increase in these cases during the past year or so. We get a half-dozen or so come to our attention in some weeks."

In addition to voluntary turn-ins, he said, the cases come to police through radiograms, phone calls and letters from parents. Some of the letters include photographs of youngsters, but these are returned when the search is concluded.

The captain believes "there are several of these runaways walking around in Waikiki right now. But unless we have something to go on, we can't pick them up."

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