Residents say overflow lots for abandoned vehicles attract crime

Ewa residents are speaking out about what they say is a nuisance in their neighborhood.

The city is allowing two companies to use three lots, including one near the old Ewa Beach fire station, to house abandoned military vehicles.

Residents say the lots are attracting criminals.

The Ewa Beach Neighborhood Board says the city has addressed some of its concerns, but members want more to be done.

Board member Kurt Fevella showed KHON2 photos taken by a resident near the old fire station. The resident called police believing people were breaking into one of the cars in the lot.

Fevella says police officers stopped the people, but were unable to arrest them, because there were no signs warning people to stay out and the officer didn’t know who owned the vehicle.

Since that time, “no trespassing” signs have been posted at the overflow lot location at West Lock Golf Course, Ewa Villages Golf Course, and the old Ewa Beach fire station.

The signs allow HPD to arrest anyone beyond the fence for trespassing, but Fevella says it’s not enough.

“I don’t care how much signs you put,” Fevella said. “I don’t care what you put. If they can go over there and make a quick buck from stealing something, they’re going to do it, and they’ve been doing it at West Loch. They been doing it at Ewa Villages.”

The city declined to go on camera but sent a statement that said: “The Department of Customer Services has hired security guards to watch these abandoned vehicles.”

But in an email, the city also said that not all three locations have security.

KHON2 reached out to councilwoman Kymberly Marcos Pine for answers.

“We’re trying to get them out of our communities, which is why it’s temporarily acceptable,” Pine said.

A letter from the city to Pine dated July 21 states: the city “…has taken steps to temporarily store vehicles for a period of up to 6 months.”

So why are these vehicles being stored here for so long? The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) prohibits vehicles owned by military members to be sold at auction.

The city has until Jan. 21, 2018, to remove all 182 of the vehicles stored in the three overflow lots.

“I think the major issue is that military leaders in the State of Hawaii are not caring enough how it has affected Hawaii residents,” Pine said. “A military leader can very easily instruct the people under their command to take care of their cars, but they’re not doing that.”

The city says it is paying $2,240 for security each week at the overflow lots.

KHON2 reached out to the military to find out what is being done to prevent military personnel from abandoning their vehicles. We’ll follow up once we get a response.

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