HONOLULU (KHON2) — The holiday shopping season is here and thieves have wasted no time in taking advantage of the season.
A new kiosk at Ala Moana Center was broken into on Wednesday, Nov. 15, and according to Honolulu police statistics, thefts are trending upwards near malls.
Anime Currency said they’ve been at Ala Moana Center for about one month.
“Yesterday morning around 5:50 a.m. a masked person showed up at our kiosk, broke the glass, and took off with some of our products,” explained Anime Currency General Manager Sheryl Kona, who’s neighboring business provided them with surveillance footage.
Kona said she received the call from the shopping center around 7 a.m. and was shocked to hear the news.
The new first floor kiosk said the thief took off with several displays of gold foil K-pop and anime bills. The small business filed a police report and is now asking the public to be on the lookout for anyone selling similar items online.
“I see mall security everywhere all day every day, so I was like how could this happen and no one was around to witness it? It was shocking to me,” said Kona.
KHON2 News reached out to Ala Moana Center to see if they planned to beef up security ahead of the holiday season, but did not hear back.
Anime Currency said Ala Moana put up new glass, but it’s put a damper on the start of the holiday season.
“For something like this to happen, it sets us back hard,” the small business manager said.
According to HPD crime mapping, there have been 23 larceny/theft cases surrounding the 1400 block of Ala Moana Center since Wednesday, Nov. 1.
There were 38 cases in September, and 46 cases in October.
Other shopping centers around the island averaged about nine to 13 theft cases in its surrounding areas in the past two months.
Vehicle break-ins are also a concern around the holidays and at shopping center parking lots.
“One thing I recommend is that people who are out shopping, they fill up their carts, pay for it, take the cart to their cars, and if you have a trunk utilize it, conceal the items, don’t leave it on the backseat so people can see the high value item and see no one in the vehicle,” explained Hawaii Island Police Officer Justin Cabanting.
Honolulu police said criminals are always on the lookout for opportunities and recommend people shop with a family member or friend, pay attention to their surroundings, and park in well-lit areas and near other cars.
As for businesses, police recommend alarms systems, having wire mesh around windows, having well-lit lighting around all doors, and if theft is on the rise in your area, speak with other businesses about hiring a security guard and splitting the cost.
“We’re installing security cameras, and finding better ways to lock up product when we do close,” said Kona.
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“Don’t wait for this to happen to you, beef up your own security, right now we’re regretting not making that choice and hopefully people can take a lesson from us and better protect themselves especially before the holidays,” she said as an advice to other businesses.