The pool at Kalihi Valley District Park is once again off limits after a copper thief or thieves targeted the park yet again.
A park custodian discovered the wiring that services the pool's filtration system was missing Thursday morning. Parks and Recreation Director Gary Cabato said whoever stole the wiring must have used some type of heavy machinery to pull it out of an electrical box bordering the baseball field.
"It's real thick and it's heavy," Cabato said of the wiring. "The deputy director was briefing me about it this morning and said they had to pull it out with some kind of car or something."
The most recent theft is the second time this month copper has been stolen from the park, which is off Kamehameha IV Road next to the Kalihi police station. On July 4, a thief or thieves stole wiring that services the pool, as well as the basketball courts, tennis courts and baseball field.
Rosalind Young, the West Honolulu district manager for Parks and Recreation, said officers had stepped up their patrols of the park to no avail.
"They can't station somebody there 24 hours a day," said Young. "Unfortunately, that's just not possible."
After the first theft, copper wiring for the pool was replaced in about a week because supplies were on hand. However, this time around repairs could take longer.
"Now, we're waiting for materials even to bring the field and the tennis and basketball courts back up, which is why it wasn't all secured," said Young.
According to Cabato, getting the pool's filtration system rewired yet again will cost about $7,000, which includes labor. Repairs from both copper thefts could total as much as $25,000.
"It's expensive wiring," said Cabato.
One option to help secure the park is the installation of surveillance cameras. Cabato said he would be making that recommendation to the Kalihi Valley Neighborhood Board.
"I want the neighborhood board to chime in because I really shouldn't be the one to just say this, because there may be push back," Cabato told KITV4.
Meanwhile, frequent users of the pool have no choice but to go elsewhere.
Gene and Sally Grounds of Aina Haina use the Olympic size pool as much as three times per week to swim laps.
"It's a tragedy," said Gene Grounds. "Not only just for me, but the kids; they're missing out on this too."
"I look over here now, and it's so beautiful," added Sally Grounds. "It's just all by itself; nobody's in there."
After a copper theft at Makiki District Park in late November or early December of last year, park officials welded a door that leads to an electrical vault.
A protective cage or other device is being considered for Kalihi Valley District Park, but it can only be installed after all the copper wiring is fixed.
"I don't know how they're going to time that to prevent a future theft," said Young.