A state lawmaker fell victim to thieves while taking a family photo on a beach in Waikiki. 

Rep. Kaniela Ing (D, Kihei, Wailea, Makena) is now dealing with thousands of dollars worth of fraudulent debit card charges. 

Ing says he was on Kuhio Beach with his partner and baby, taking family photos with a photographer. He carried a backpack with his wallet and sunglasses. 

“We’re trying to keep the bag close, but you gotta look at the camera, so I put it down near me,” Ing explained. 

Ing believes someone used that opportunity to steal his wallet and sunglasses, but did not realize it until it was too late.

“I was driving to dinner with my family. And I was looking: ‘Where’s my wallet?’ I was looking all over the car, but I didn’t want to rush to conclusions, like maybe it fell in the seat. So I took my family home, I checked the car, I went back to the beach, I stopped by the police station, but they didn’t have it.”

Ing says he got a phone call from Bank of Hawaii, expressing concern over possible fraudulent debit card purchases. 

By the time Ing canceled his card, thieves racked up thousands of dollars of purchases at Waikiki stores like Prada, ABC, Macy’s, Quiksilver, and Ross. 

Quiksilver $127.75
Macy’s Waikiki $54.00
Hoku Wireless $329.84
McDonalds $27.58
Prada $36.65
Macy’s Waikiki $84.00
ABC store $275.44
Prada $890.05
Smokeys House of Smoke $64.71
Ross $147.60
Volcom $91.10 

When he looked at his bank statement, Ing said “Wow, this person had a great night at my family’s expense. You’re talking about hundreds of dollars at Quiksilver, Macy’s, almost $300 worth of liquor at ABC store. I mean, I can’t afford this, like most people out there, to the point where you can’t even leave your bag close to you on the beach. Things have really changed in our state.”

Grayson Kauwe, who works at the Shaka Foundation stand at nearby Queen’s Beach, says Ing’s theft is not the first he’d heard of. 

“Sometimes kids will leave their stuff on the side of the wall, they come back, they won’t have their bus fare to go home, cell phones missing, wallets gone. Watch your stuff, people. Know what I mean? Be aware of your surroundings,” he said. 

Crime statistics from February in Waikiki reveal 10 robberies, 10 burglaries, and 197 thefts. 

“What can we do to support our law enforcement to handle these type of situations? But also it’s unrealistic to think they can spot somebody reaching into the bag. We gotta make sure our ID laws or ID theft laws makes sense,” said Ing.  

Waikiki Neighborhood Board chair Robert Finley urges people to pipe up. 

“For any crime you see happening, call 911. Let them know what’s happening, where it’s at, so they can respond to it,” said Finley. 

Though he did not file an initial police report, Ing says he plans to now that he knows the full extent of the debit card charges. “The thief is still out there,” he added. 

Ing considers the theft a lesson learned. 

“Maybe I could have stuck my wallet in the baby’s diaper, someone might not want to take a diaper,” he joked.