GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Valerie Kane's Ono Gelato Co. store is one of many that have been targeted by vandals in Paia. Maui police are investigating the incidents.
Vandalism hits Paia shops
A spree of broken windows and petty thefts started last fall
PAIA, MAUI » Maui police are investigating a rash of vandalism in Paia town that store owners say has resulted in about 24 store windows damaged.
"There's no rhyme, no reason. ... It's horrible," said Ono Gelato Co. owner Valerie Kane.
Kane said two of her windows have been broken at night after the close of business.
Kane said she does not plan to fix the windows until the rash of vandalism stops.
The price of replacing a window ranges from about $800 to $1,500, she said.
"We've never had anything like this happen to us before," said Britt Nelson, the mother of the owner of the Paia shop Devocean.
Nelson, whose son also operates a store in Haleiwa on Oahu, said the Paia store had three separate windows broken in January, and a break-in of the store several days ago resulting in the theft of clothes.
Store owners say the vandals have shattered glass windows of restaurants, gift stores and even a bank.
Merchants say they have found little lead bolts near the windows and believe the vandalism is being caused by the use of a slingshot from a passing vehicle.
Store owners said the first act of vandalism started at stores the morning after Halloween.
Police Capt. Victor Ramos said police have had meetings with merchants about the vandalism, and a police officer is usually assigned to be in Paia when not on call to other areas, such as Makawao, Kula and Pukalani.
But he said police have been unable to post a police officer in Paia during all times of the day because of a staff shortage.
Ramos said conducting a police surveillance is a "hit-or-miss thing" and that police rely on information from the public to help them out.