Statue of Liliuokalani
stolen from kids’ center

A four-foot statue of Queen Liliuokalani was missing from the front courtyard of the Queen Liliuokalani Children's Center when staff members arrived this morning.

The statue was a mock-up of the widely recognized statue of Queen Liliuokalani between the state Capitol and Iolani Palace, said Imaikalani Kalahele, caretaker for the center for 25 years.

He said he can't imagine what the thieves will do with the bronze statue of Queen Liliuokalani, created by Marianna Pineda. "You can't pawn it; you can't melt it down."

The theft is the latest in a series of incidents at the 1300 Halona St. center, said Kalahele, who also is a sculptor and painter.

About six weeks ago, he noticed a couple of sculpture pieces, which he created, were missing from the back courtyard, Kalahele said.

One was a stone piece about 3 feet high and the other was a large wooden piece, an abstract sculpture, he said.

Over the weekend of April 20, he said, "While people were in the office, somebody ripped off a couple portraits of the queen and John Dominis in our reception room and a couple of small items."

The portraits were photographs of older paintings "but the frames were not bad," he said. They had been at the center since about 1966, when the building was finished, he said.

Kalahele said he believes thieves probably climbed a fence around the circular courtyard to steal the queen's statue overnight. "It is not as heavy as it is awkward," he said, adding that it would fit in the back seat of a car.

Kalahele lives on the property but said he can't see the courtyard from his residence. The statue was there when he left the center about 8:30 last night and it was gone when he returned at 5 a.m. today, he said.

He said some stone pieces that he sculpted also were taken from the yard of his home one evening while his family was in the house. "They were there in the night and gone when we got up Sunday morning."

The stone pieces were all sculpted with metal tools, so they can't be described as being ancient, he said. The biggest one weighed about 100 pounds.

"I have no idea how they could market these (items), with the exception of my sculpture," he said. "If they can sell my sculpture, I hope they will let me know. I'll give them a commission."

A lot of people go in and out of the center, a public building, Kalahele said. "This sounds like somebody knows there are things so they come looking..."


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