Iolani Palace surveillance video catches vandals in the act

Iolani Palace officials react to surveillance video

On Thursday, Iolani Palace released surveillance video of the two suspects accused of breaking in and damaging an original glass door that’s more than 130 years old. Palace officials say the glass door was kicked in by the woman who was then seen entering the palace accompanied by a man.

Rather than walking through the Grand Hall, they went down into the basement, which was a relief to palace officials. “I was thankful and we were fortunate that they didn’t enter any of the other rooms or harm or touch any of the other artifacts,” said palace collections manager Mike Juen.

Honolulu Police identified the two suspects as Drew Paahao and Koa Keaulana. They appeared in court Monday for unrelated charges and when asked why she did it, Paahao said, “Cause that’s my house, yeah that’s my house.”

There’s been strong reaction, mostly outrage, from the community. “To be committing these acts among our own sacred places of course is disheartening, but to inflict it on ourselves only creates greater trauma and emotions,” said Kamanaopono Crabbe of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

It’s enough for some lawmakers to consider stricter laws for vandalizing historic places “and see that indeed we can help people to stop vandalizing our wahi panas, especially Iolani Palace,” said Rep. Faye Hanohano.

Palace officials say this is the third time that glass doors have been broken. One was broken in 1984 and its replica broken again in 1991. The same company that fixed them has been contacted, but local companies are also interested.

“We’ll talk with them and see what everybody can do and what type of work they can produce and see if can get something that will look exactly like what was there before,” Juen said.

The first broken door cost $15,000 to fix, and that was 30 years ago. This time around, the cost is expected to be much higher.

Paahao and Keaulana have not been charged, but the State Attorney General says that could happen by next week.

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Watch the raw surveillance video here:

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