Hawaii County officials are condemning the actions of arsonists who destroyed four county vehicles used by the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Elderly Activities Division.
The vehicles were stored at the Kamana Senior Center in Hilo and set ablaze Sunday, causing roughly $100,000 in damage. No suspects have been identified at this time, according to a county news release.
“It’s a shame to think that there are folks in our community who would intentionally destroy vehicles that are specifically meant to serve our kupuna,” Mayor Mitch Roth said in a news release. “We urge anyone who sees or hears of this type of activity to report it directly to the police. We will not stand for it and will ensure that any individual who attempts this type of egregious action is punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Parks and Recreation Director Maurice Messina said the four vehicles were used for elderly transportation services and meal deliveries to homebound seniors, “so the idea of someone setting them on fire is senseless to me.”
Messina said there have been numerous instances of vandalism at the senior center over the last year, including vehicle gas lines cut, catalytic converters stolen and break-ins at the office and storage lockers.
“We are trying to identify additional funds for security at the Kamana Senior Center, but our security budget is already stretched to over $1 million islandwide,” he said.
Officials are asking the public to immediately notify law enforcement if witnessing vandals in action. To report damage or vandalism at county parks and beaches, call 808-961-8311.
Anyone with information on the vehicle fires at the Kamana Senior Center should call the police nonemergency number at 808-935-3311.