POSTED: 8:21 a.m. HST, May 1, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 12:27 p.m. HST, May 1, 2013
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources was forced to close a newly-constructed comfort station after thieves last weekend stole solar panels and other items from MacKenzie State Park in Puna.
The state reported that the new comfort station was damaged and newly-installed solar panels and electrical equipment to operate the composting toilets were stolen.
Hawaii County police said the total value of the solar panels and other items stolen and damaged was more than $5,000.
The new comfort station will be closed indefinitely to ensure the completion of repairs and installation of replacements, and security improvements are made.
Some of the items that were stolen are part of a sewage containment system and would not be of much value to those that have taken them because of the specialized nature of the parts, the state said.
Since early this year the state has been improving the 13.1-acre MacKenzie State Recreation Area located on Kalapana-Kapono Beach Road, 9 miles northeast of Kaimu.
Ongoing improvements at MacKenzie State Recreation Area include a new parking area near the camping sites and road repairs and improvements.
Anyone with information about the theft is encouraged to call the state land board in Hilo at (808) 974-6208.