Thieves may target LED light bulbs next

A crime trend seen on the mainland is appearing here in the islands and it’s led to a warning for business owners and residents to help them stay ahead of the thieves.

Earlier this month, a man stole nine LED light bulbs from a parking garage in Moiliili. The light bulbs are worth about $60-$80 a piece.

KHON2 wanted to know if this is a growing crime trend, like the rash of copper wire thefts, but Honolulu police say, so far, it’s an isolated incident.

The building’s resident manager, who didn’t want to be identified, said the thief climbed over the garage wall and started grabbing bulbs from fixtures and put them in a bag.

“He just pulled out the bulbs as he walked out,” the manager said. “This one, he didn’t take because it’s a little bit of a longer reach than the other ones.”

The manager says the thief was in and out of the garage within a few minutes. “He must have been in here previously to survey and prepare by bringing that bag or maybe he’s doing this at other buildings,” he said.

LED bulb theft is a growing crime trend on the mainland. Guests are even stealing bulbs from hotel rooms.

HPD says there are no other reports of it here, but commercial property manager Bob Tanaka isn’t taking any chances. After installing LED lights outside his building, Tanaka set up security cameras and placed the lights high up where they’re hard to reach.

“Right now we have about half a dozen on this building alone,” Tanaka said. He said the bulbs are worth several hundred dollars.

As far as the bulbs’ resale, the Moiliili resident manager says, “he wouldn’t be selling them to a condominium association or to a hotel. It would have to be to somebody who is renovating.”

The manager says the stolen LED bulbs could also wind up being sold online.

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