Waialua residents victimized by car fires

“Strange happenings” — that’s how Waialua residents describe a series of bizarre car fires in their neighborhood.

It started on New Year’s Day and police are trying to find out who is setting random cars on fire.

That’s what one couple experienced this month. January 4 started out as a typical Sunday evening for husband and wife Shane Rogers and Heather Bankston. That is, until they realized their new car was on fire.

“I freaked out!” says Shane Rogers. “I jumped out of bed. It was 11 o’clock at night on Sunday. I ran to the window, looked down, and screamed at Heather to get up and call 9-1-1.”

Rogers, using pitchers of water, successfully extinguished the flames before police and the fire department got to their Waialua home on Crozier Street.

“It was a holy crud kind of moment,” he exclaimed. “It freaked me out. (The safety) of your pets and your wife go through your head”

The couple had this car for only one week before it was torched. “It damaged the car on the passenger side. It’s pretty much undrivable and ruined,” said Heather Bankston.

They want to believe this is the product of an electrical fire, but police say this case is definitely arson.

Honolulu Police Department confirms there were several vehicle fires in Waialua in January alone.

Rogers and Bankston said they aren’t the only ones in their neighborhood who has had their car set on fire. “Lots of weird stories circulating about people getting robbed, car fires, all sorts of weird stuff,” Bankston said.

Other Waialua residents say they’ve seen other cars set on fire in the neighborhood. Torch marks on a large patch of grass on a street adjacent to Crozier Street clearly show the markings of a car set on fire.

Nikolas Lum said “my friend came up to me and said ‘brah, did you realize a car’s set on fire?’ I said no, I was sleeping. He said ‘yeah, I was sleeping, too, but I walked outside and saw the cops and the fire engines all around.’ I was like what?!?”

Rogers and Bankston say they have no clue who would do this to their vehicle. “It has to be random,” said Rogers. “I don’t think I have any enemies,” added Bankston. “I think it’s random. Other cars have been set on fire in the neighborhood. I was just an unlucky one.”

The couple says the neighborhood is on high alert for more suspicious activity. They’re patiently waiting for police to find the arsonist.

In the meantime, they’re hoping their torched car still works. “I’m going to have it looked at, try to drive that car, barbeque style. As long as it runs,” said Bankston.

HPD says no arrests have been made at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 955-8300.

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