Waimanalo camping theft raises concerns over emergency access

Local News

A theft at a Waimanalo camping area is raising concerns about access during an emergency.

A viewer contacted us via Report It. She had been camping with friends at Sherwoods in Waimanalo when some of their things were stolen.

Kim Baxter was with a group of 10 friends who camped out at Sherwoods over the weekend, something they’ve done many times before.

But something drastically different happened this time around. In the middle of the night, they discovered that some of their bags had been stolen from their tents while they were asleep.

“So somebody had opened up the flap reached inside grabbed the bag, maybe six inches from his head, took it out and it was quite a big bag and got off with it,” Baxter said.

They called Honolulu police, but officers could not enter the campgrounds because the gate is locked overnight, from 7:45 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next day.

There’s a caretaker that’s supposed to open the gate, but in this case that never happened. So when officers arrived, Baxter and friends had to meet them at the gate.

“They had told us that they had called the caretaker to come open the gate. Nobody ever responded,” she said. “We waited about an hour and a half or so while they were filling out reports and such, and the gate was never opened.”

Baxter points out that if somebody needed medical attention, how can emergency responders get inside to help? So we reached out to the different agencies for some answers. Nobody was willing to talk to us on camera, but they did provide some information.

A Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman says they now have the combination to the lock, so if police officers have to respond in the future, they will be able to open the gate.

A spokesman for the fire department says if it was a situation where someone’s life is in danger, firefighters would have to break the lock. An Emergency Medical Services spokesman says they would also count on the fire department to do the same thing.

We’ve also learned that EMS has responded to 13 calls to the campsite since the beginning of the year, but none happened when it was closed.

We also tried reaching out to the caretaker of the campsite to find out why he never responded to the call from police over the weekend, but we couldn’t get a hold of him.

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