Rant & Rave

Tuesday, January 13, 1998

Thief stole more than just 'things'

By Shannon Kotani

MY friend Cheri and I went to the Hawaii Kai Library to do our homework while our friend Carie was working shelving books. Another friend came by to visit and I asked him if I could get a ride home in a half hour. He said OK.

Later, when we went to his car, we found out his radio, CDs and CD player had been stolen.

He had been in the library less than an hour and hadn't realized the people he dropped off earlier failed to roll up the back windows. He was outraged and I didn't know what to say to him. I wish I had the right words for something like that, when $400 worth of equipment is gone, just like that, but all I could say was, "It's going to be OK."

Carie suggested that he call the police so that the information would be on file if any of his belongings were found. She meant to comfort him but instead, he grew angrier.

"The police cannot do anything about it!" he said. "They can't prove who did it."

What made me sad about the whole situation is how much time and effort he had put into making all that money to buy those possessions. I know that his parents do not give him money; he has to earn it all himself.

His life has never been a bowl of cherries. Life has treated him badly, and then this had to happen. The way he relieves stress when he's mad is to punch things. It's not healthy, but it seems to work. About five minutes after finding out what happened he started punching and kicking the walls. When he came back to the car I saw his hands were all cut and bleeding.

After a couple of days, he told me his parents were very upset. He said he wasn't mad anymore that his radio or CD player had been stolen; it was the CDs he missed. Some of the CDs were limited edition collector releases now out of print.

I thought for a long time about the situation. I wondered who stole my friends things.

To the thief, I would say, what was going through your mind? How low and pathetic can anyone be to steal someone else's things? Is it cool to do that to an innocent person? Did you want to be accepted by your friends? Did you prove that you had the guts to steal?

I hope you realize how my friend feels. Do you know how much misery you put him through? If $400 worth of your precious items were stolen, I have a feeling you would not like it very much.

"What goes around, comes around" is what I believe will happen to the person who did this. Someone may start stealing CDs from cars, but this can escalate to stealing from stores. Maybe next time you will get caught. BUSTED! You'll end up in jail, all because you thought you could get away with stealing.

Realistically, I know my friend will never get his things back, but things can be replaced. Even anger, pain and hatred will drift away, but the loss of respect, trust and faith in others will never be replaced.

To avoid becoming a victim of a thief, here is some friendly advice:

Be careful whom you trust.

Remember to secure anything of value in your car, home or at school. Double check to make sure doors are locked and that you have valuables like your purse or wallet with you when you leave a public site.

Do not be fooled into thinking you live in a safe community.

To people who steal:

If you want to have radios, CD players and CDs, don't steal them, work for them.

Think about the consequences of stealing.

Imagine what it is like to be in the victim's shoes. Remember, you would not like having something stolen from you.

Shannon Kotani is a senior at Kaiser High School.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
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