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20 June, 2024
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Gunpoint robberies follow Maui wildfires

Desperate survivors turn to armed theft for essentials in wake of wildfires

Source: Fox News

Desperate survivors in Lahaina are robbing people at gunpoint as they wait for food and shelter in the aftermath of the Maui wildfires, Hawaiian locals said.

"There's some police presence. There's some small military presence, but at night people are being robbed at gunpoint," co-owner of a Lāhainā bar called The Dirty Monkey, Matt Robb, told Business Insider.

Robb added: "People are raped and pillaged. I mean, they're going through houses — and then by day it's hunky-dory. So where is the support? I don't think our government and our leaders, at this point, know how to handle this or what to do."

Fox News Digital reached out to the County of Maui for information about the alleged looting but did not hear back by time of publication.

Residents spoke to local news outlets as they await rescue crews to deliver food, water, diapers, and other necessities, many who lost everything are growing desperate.

Owner of restaurant Coconut Caboose Jeremy Aganos, one of the businesses that survived the fires, told KITV it is "utter chaos" for those seeking aid. His business was attacked by looters, he said.

Aganos set up a GoFundMe for the restaurant's losses.

Another Lahaina resident, Barrett Procell, told the news station he and his wife are now homeless and wearing donated clothes. He said he understands the desperate measures some Lahaina survivors are taking.

"When your children are here starving after almost burning to death and the police won’t let people drive in to give you necessities, you may turn to desperate measures. It is unfortunate people are turning to looting right now, but it’s about helping them and not villainizing them," he said.

An Oregon resident who flew in to provide aid to residents was robbed at gunpoint soon after his arrival, KITV reported.

One user of X, formerly Twitter, wrote Sunday: "Looting happening in Lahaina town. The only thing left from my uncles house was a fireproof safe. Family went to check on the property yesterday only to find the safe has been pried open the last of their possessions gone."

Another user wrote Friday that "looting is out of control."

After the wildfire ravaged Lahaina last week, the aftermath revealed a landscape of destruction.

Thousands of structures were lost, forcing residents to evacuate. Only 3% of the search zone has been combed through by cadaver dogs and crews amidst the ruins, according to Maui Police Chief John Pelletier.

On Saturday, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green visited the damage and told reporters that around 2,200 buildings were harmed or destroyed in West Maui. Out of these, 86% were people's homes.

According to the county, as of Monday, several wildfires are affecting Maui County. The most prominent among these fires include the Lahaina fire, which has scorched 2,710 acres and is now 85 percent under control.

The Kula fire, just southeast of West Maui, burned 678 acres and is 60 percent contained. At least 96 people have been confirmed dead while 24 people have sustained injuries. Officials expect casualties to increase.

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