Multihull Break-In at the Ala Wai Small Boat Public Harbor May Signal Scary New Trend

Multihull Break-In at the Ala Wai Small Boat Public Harbor

May Signal Scary New Trend

Break-ins and robberies at the Ala Wai are nothing new.  The recent increase in the number of break-ins, however, is being felt by more and more vessel owners there.  There is no DLNR security presence in the public harbor system which often prompts boaters to ask what DLNR's DOCARE division actually does for a living.

The owner of a multihull sailboat that was recently broken into at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor in Waikiki discovered that the thief apparently made themselves at home, staying at least overnight before making off with . . . the ship's paperwork and some keys. The GPS and other equipment on the boat were untouched.

After an investigation, during which the perpetrator was identified and interrogated, it turned out that there had been a number of these kinds of break-ins recently and that paperwork from other vessels was going missing as well.  Why were they stealing paperwork?

The paperwork angle was a piece of a much larger puzzle.   Names and addresses, and any other personal information, was the focus.  This information was being shared with others in the perpetrator's group -- or affiliates that were paying for this information -- and was being used to identify home addresses where mail was delivered.  These same thieves were then stealing mail which, presumably, was being used to provide more in-depth personal information about the victims.

Why should this have any economic value?  If you've got enough of the right kind of personal info on someone, there is a market for it these days.  It seems that the information that first originated from ships documents at the Ala Wai could, in some cases, provide a window onto more lucrative identity theft opportunities.  Ironically, the skipper who lost the paperwork is usually relieved, at least initially, that none of his or her other gear was pilfered during the robbery.

Boaters are urged to keep ship's paperwork in a safe location away from the vessel, in the case of non-liveaboards, and well hidden for those who do use their boats as their home.  It is also important to understand that a flimsy companionway lockup arrangement is an invitation to what is turning out to be increasing crime in the Ala Wai.


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