Punctured gas tank leaves Kamaile Academy with one school bus

Local News

A Waianae charter school will have to do without one of its two school buses for a couple of weeks. This, after a thief punctured the gas tank trying to steal gasoline.

The principal of Kamaile Academy says this isn’t the first time it’s happened. And these thefts take away valuable resources badly needed by the students.

Security footage shows a man walking into the campus 7:30 Sunday morning. He then goes to the school bus carrying a gas can and goes underneath. After that, he waits a while and even walks back to his truck before coming back for the gas can.

Honolulu firefighters were called in to clean up the spill and patch up the tank but it will have to be replaced. It will likely take a couple of weeks before the bus is back on the road, so the school will have one bus to transport 150 kids a day.

“We’ll have to double up on the runs, so kids are gonna have to wait longer, parents are gonna have to wait longer. We’re gonna have to send a communication out to parents to let them know that there’ll be some delay in bus services, so please be patient,” said Kepka.

There’s the inconvenience for students, parents, and staff. Of course there’s the cost of replacing the gas tank, which is about $2,000.

The last time this happened the thief broke through the gas line so custodians put a seal around it. This time it caused more damage by puncturing the gas tank.

“The goal is to get the money in the hands of the kids and the teachers to support learning here at the school. So money I’m spending on fixing buses is money we can’t spend on learning for the kids or supporting our teachers,” said Kepka.

The school buses are also used regularly for field trips, so Kepka says it’s gonna be a challenge to make sure the kids can still go. He points out that many of the students are at risk, so taking away any resources from the school hurts the students, their families, and the community.

“When someone vandalizes a bus or vandalizes anything at the school, essentially you’re taking from the kids. That’s not a message we want to send,” said Kepka.

Honolulu police have a copy of the surveillance video. The case has been classified as criminal property damage.

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