Monday, April 25, 2005

Thefts stall teen program

The loss of a safety boat and other
equipment forces cancellation of
Marimed’s bay outings

Thieves have almost stranded the Marimed Foundation's Kailana Residential Treatment Program for at-risk teens in Kaneohe by stealing boats and other maritime educational equipment.

The program relies on a brand-new 16-foot rigid-hull inflatable boat, an 18-foot safety boat, an outboard motor, a kayak and a fishnet -- stolen in the past three months by thieves.

"It's a direct hit. It's how we do treatment. Feels like getting the wind knocked out of you," said Marimed President Matt Claybaugh.

He said the safety boat was used every day, and its loss has forced the organization to cancel canoe practices and small boat sailing.

The first theft in February was of a 25-horsepower outboard motor. A lock and chain secured it to a 17-foot launch vessel that was locked to a mooring in Kaneohe Bay fronting Marimed's property at Likeke Place.

The following week, thieves stole the brand-new 16-foot rigid inflatable boat from the middle of Kaneohe Bay. The boat was tied to Marimed's three-mast schooner Makani Olu. The captain of Makani Olu was asleep aboard the schooner when the thieves cut the line and made off with the boat in the middle of the night.

Police found the rigid hull the following day off Waiahole Valley Road. It had been stripped of its inflatable collar, outboard motor and steering console. The thieves left behind a broken slipper that was in the boat when it was stolen.

Claybaugh said he was forced to replace the boat with a smaller vessel right away because Marimed was hosting seniors from around the world for an elder hostel voyage aboard Makani Olu the following day. The vessel was needed to shuttle people from shore to the schooner.

Also in February, thieves stole the donated 16-foot ocean kayak that was sitting between two buildings used as classrooms for the Kailana Program. On April 10, thieves stole the fishing net, which was hanging up on the Kaneohe property for repairs. The red tandem kayak was used to lay and retrieve the net.

On Tuesday, thieves stole the safety boat Kaimana, which was secured by chain and lock to a mooring.

"I know we're being watched, because we just replaced the engine last week," Claybaugh said.

The 60-horsepower motor was secured to the boat with lock and chain, while another lock and chain set secured the motor to the mooring. The boat was not new, but the bottom had just been painted black.

Claybaugh estimates the value of the stolen items at more than $30,000. He is asking people to keep an eye out for the items. If someone in the area has a work boat they are not using, perhaps they could donate it, he said.

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