Musician grieving after theft of guitars
Local musician Mike Kaawa lost the love of his life when his 12-string guitar named Ruby was apparently stolen from his locked van Sunday in Kaneohe.
"It's something that I bonded with, and I wasn't going to retire it any time soon. It had a special sound," Kaawa said yesterday.
He said he bought the $3,000 Ovation guitar eight years ago; he usually keeps a guitar for five years.
It and a 12-string guitar owned by musician Brother Noland Conjugacion were stolen from the van in the lower parking lot at the Koolau Golf Course, where Kaawa and his Hawaiian band perform at Honey's restaurant every Sunday.
The thieves cracked the passenger-side window after attempting to break into the driver-side door and back tailgate, he said.
Kaawa asks that people with information call him at 737-9340.
Brother Noland's guitar was a wedding gift from his wife.
"It hurts because I borrowed it from him, and he's such a dear friend of mine," said Kaawa, who has played music for more than 30 years.
"Just that morning, I kept saying, 'We gotta return that guitar,' because you never know when something will happen -- and it did," said wife Malissa Kaawa. "I know my stuff was stolen, too, but that guitar belonged to Noland."
Mike Kaawa used the borrowed Ovation guitar as a spare that night, since he had some problems playing his own guitar a few days before.
He returned to his van 15 to 20 minutes after locking up the two guitars and found they were gone.
"They must have been watching me from the parking lot above," he said. "It just happened so fast."
Thieves also stole his cellular phone, wallet and his wife's boogie board and three fins, which added up to about $7,050.
Bass player and close friend Analu Aina saw three young men leave the area in a white four-door sedan after he yelled at them to stop.
"Something told me to go check the cars," Aina said. "I wish I could have got in my van and chased them, but they were too far gone already."
Yesterday, Aina returned to the golf course loading dock to look for any items that might have been thrown out of the getaway car. He also went to Kaneohe pawnshops but did not have any luck finding the belongings.
"It's even more worse because this is something that helps us to share our aloha, our music," Aina said. "A guitar is like a baby."