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Copper thieves target former C. Brewer headquarters in Hilo

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 4:19 a.m. HST, Aug 19, 2014

HILO >> Copper thieves stole several thousand dollars' worth of pipe from the outside of Hilo's Wainaku Executive Center, an upscale event venue that once was headquarters for C. Brewer & Co.

Copper drainpipes were taken from the sides of the building late Thursday night or early Friday, said Ed Olson, president of the Edmund C. Olson Trust II, the sole principal of the building owner, Wainaku Ventures LLC.

"We discovered it this morning," Olson said. "Everything from about the 20-foot elevation down, they took all the copper pipes, probably 150 lineal feet of 4-inch copper pipe.

"This is a very fancy building, so all of the drainage situation was copper, which is incredibly expensive."

The center is in a secluded coastal area near Hilo's "Singing Bridge."

Olson bought the property two years ago. It went up for sale in July. The 11,800-square-foot building, built in 1924, is on 12 acres with 3,000 feet of shoreline and a black sand beach. The asking price is $8.25 million.

The center's security gate had been secured only by a cord.

"I can't believe there wasn't a chain lock put on it," Olson said.

The building has hosted events weddings and the annual Hilo Brewfest. A concert promoter is planning a Sept. 19 show featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell.

The copper drainpipes were original fixtures. Olson plans to replace them.

"The building is for sale, of course, so I can't show it until we replace the pipe," he said. "All of the drain piping is copper and it adds a nice nature to the building. It's really part of the building."

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