A 57-year-old man has been indicted by an Oahu grand jury on felony criminal property damage counts for acts of vandalism at Iolani Palace and the Hawaii State Capitol.
The vandalism occurred on Sunday, May 28.
According to the Department of the Attorney General, Michael Aquino allegedly used a three-foot long metal pipe to break three palace door windowpanes. Some of the glass in the doors are more than 130 years old.
“Iolani Palace was the unfortunate victim of severe vandalism,” Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of The Friends of Iolani Palace, said in a statement. “We appreciate the quick actions of our Palace guards and law enforcement to catch the suspect. We are cooperating with State Sheriffs in their investigation. While the original glass panes are irreparable, we will work to replicate and replace them to restore the Palace to its monarchy era grandeur.”
Aquino was also accused of damaging the glass door to the House chambers at the Capitol building.
He was indicted for one count of first-degree criminal property damage, a class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison; and one count of second-degree criminal property damage, a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
“The cultural and historical significance of Iolani Palace to the people of Hawaii cannot be overstated. The State Capitol is a vital public building,” said Attorney General Doug Chin. “Aquino will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.”
Aquino has five previous felony convictions. If convicted, he would be eligible for enhanced sentencing as a repeat, persistent, and multiple offender.
His bail was set at $100,000. He remains in custody.
Vandalism at Iolani Palace and capitol building
Vandalism at Iolani Palace and capitol building x
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This isn’t the first time Iolani Palace has been damaged. Three-years ago, a woman kicked in the glass front door.
On Feb. 8, 2014, Drew Paahao and Koa Keaulana were caught on surveillance video entering the palace and going down into the basement, where security guards caught up with them.
Prosecutors said they were homeless and when we asked Paahao why she did it, she said because it was her house.
Paahao was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay an $11,500 fine.
Palace officials had the glass repaired by a specialist who has studied the old European style of glasswork and repaired other previously damaged glass panels.
The cost of the repair and shipping is about $11,000 and was paid for by an anonymous donor.