Police investigate new crime trend as tires stolen off certain trucks

There’s a new crime trend targeting a specific type of truck.

The Honolulu Police Department confirmed three Toyota Tacomas in the Waipio area, and one in Kailua were targeted during Labor Day weekend.

Jack Mandaquit knew something was wrong on his Sunday drive through Waipio, so he contacted KHON through our Report It feature.

“I saw two Toyota Tacomas, on Lumikula Street. All the wheels were missing,” he explained. “They were put on blocks. Then I drove up the road, and saw this truck right here, and saw that it also had its wheels missing. Thought it was pretty peculiar.”

The truck parked along busy Waipio Uka Street belongs to Waipio resident Jeffrey Ulep.

“I come home and I see this. Feels like I’m in a movie or something, you know?” said Ulep.

During the interview, a man walking his dog told KHON this happened to him, one year ago.

“One morning my neighbor had text me, and mentioned if I took off my tires. I said no. She said, ‘You better go out and check.’ So when I did, it was exactly like this trunk! It was on bricks, with all the tires missing,” said Waipio resident Harold Misuzawa.

Misuzawa says the theft set him back about $4,000.

“I feel really angry at the fact that not only myself but people around me are being affected,” said Ulep.

The theft was bold. Ulep parked his Tacoma in front of his home, directly underneath a light pole, and next to a heavily-used sidewalk.

“Do you find it odd that Toyota Tacomas are being targeted?” KHON asked. Ulep responded “I guess not, because Toyota Tacomas are the most popular truck on the island.”

Misuzawa offered Ulep words of advice:

“I bought the special lock and lug nuts for the rims. Basically, you need a special socket to remove the rims and tires from the car.”

A spokesman with Servco Toyota says “wheels locks install in place of a car’s lug nuts and can only be removed with a special key that comes with the set. They are designed to resist lock removal tools.”

In a statement to KHON, HPD says “these types of thefts do not occur often, but officers will be on the lookout.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

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