A man saw what he thought was a crime about to happen and called 911. But when sheriffs came, he says they did nothing.

Bob Lipske was in Kakaako when he saw someone going to several parked cars, trying to open the doors and windows.

He called 911 and followed the suspicious man as he went to the lot by Kakaako Waterfront Park, and saw him do more of the same.

“He sees me there and he says, ‘What are you doing?’ (and I said) ‘I’m describing you to the police right now,’ so he’s like, ‘I’m not doing anything.’ ‘That’s fine,’ I said. ‘You can explain it to the police when they get here.'”

Sheriffs have jurisdiction in the area, and one came soon enough.

“I said, ‘That’s the guy who’s trying to break into cars,’ and the sheriff says, ‘That’s not my call,’ and so he drove off,” Lipske said.

Lipske was determined and called 911 again. Another car with two sheriffs came a few minutes later.

Lipske says that time, he even offered to take them to where the suspect had ran off to to identify him, but he says the sheriffs were not interested.

“So I guess for me, I would have hoped that they would at least try to approach the guy to see if he has warrants out, or to kind of get a face on the guy and say that we’re watching you or something, but they didn’t seem inclined to get out of their car in the rain,” he said.

Lipske contacted us through the Report It feature on our website after seeing our series on car thefts.

We asked the Honolulu Police Department, and were told technically no crime was committed if the suspect did not actually break into the car.

However, the department still encourages the public to call 911. An officer could detain and question someone if enough details were provided to develop reasonable suspicion.

We also asked a private security company. Keith Naone of Phoenix Security Hawaii says with any suspicious activity, like what Lipske saw, people should call 911 right away so officers can question the suspect and maybe get his name.

“At least the police would have his name, know who he is, so if there are any break-ins in the area, they’d have a suspect and somebody to look at at that point,” he said.

So why didn’t sheriffs question the suspect? We reached out to the Department of Public Safety for answers.

A spokeswoman tells us Lipske did the right thing by calling law enforcement, but said, “With the limited detail provided it is difficult to assess the alleged incident. However, we do encourage the public to report any types of suspicious activity in the area.”

We’re still pressing the department for a better explanation.

Lipske tells us he’s frustrated because many of his coworkers in the area have complained about the car thefts.

According to HPD’s CrimeMapping, there have been 37 car break-ins reported so far this year within a mile from Kakaako Waterfront Park.

“I think people try and not leave their cars here after dark,” said Bryan Mick, who works in the area. “Some of my co-workers, they work late and they try and move their cars at 4:30 a little bit closer to the building for security purposes.”