Buddha statue stolen from downtown Honolulu barUPDATED 5:14 AM HST May 13, 2013Video Transcript
thieves. The owner of thirty-nine-hotel says a meaningful memento has been stolen multiple times... with the latest snatching happening this week. KITV4's Justin Fujioka has the story. Downtown Honolulu has always had a bit of a sketchy reputation. It's one reason Gelareh Khoie opened this sanctuary nine years ago. Gelareh Khoie: "WE JUST WANTED A PLACE FOR ARTISTS AND MUSICIANS TO BE ABLE TO SHOWCASE THEIR WORK, ESPECIALLY A LITTLE BIT MORE MODERN ART AS OPPOSED TO ISLAND STYLE." Since day one, Buddha has been the centerpiece of the patio at thirtyninehotel. Gelareh Khoie: "THE BUDDHA HAS A LOT OF SIGNIFICANCE FOR ME. I'VE BEEN STUDYING BUDDHISM FOR MANY YEARS AND I JUST WANTED IT SORT OF LIKE A GUARDIAN TO WATCH OVER THIS SPACE AND LOOK OVER EVERYONE." But on this night, this space is empty. Khoie says she believes a customer stole the Buddha Wednesday night. Gelareh Khoie: "IT TAKES, EVEN WITH ALCOHOL IN YOUR SYSTEM, IT TAKES THAT GOING THAT EXTRA MILE TO STEAL SOMETHING THAT IS SACRED AND I THINK STEALING IS WRONG IN GENERAL." She says it's the fifth Buddha taken here. Her first and second Buddha were gifts from Thailand and Japan. The third she bought from an Indian store in New York. She got the last two from a local antique store. David Tveraas: "WOW, THAT BLOWS MY MIND. I DON'T KNOW WHO WOULD STEAL THAT. THAT SEEMS LIKE, THAT'S SACRILEGE RIGHT THERE." Gelareh Khoie: "HONESTLY, IF SOMEONE ASKED ME FOR IT, I WOULD HAND IT OVER TO RIGHT AWAY." Justin Fujioka: "DON'T EXPECT THIS SPACE TO BE EMPTY FOR LONG, GELAREH KHOIE SAYS THESE THEFTS HAVEN'T CHANGED HER FAITH." Gelareh Khoie: "NO THEFT IS GOING TO STOP ME FROM REPLACING THE BUDDHA." Justin Fujioka, KITV4 News.