Stolen HPO vehicle recovered

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The vehicle stolen from the Historic Preservation Office over the weekend was recovered yesterday but no suspect has been arrested yet.

HPO was burglarized and vandalized by unknown perpetrators over the weekend. The perpetrator or perpetrators managed to run off with one of HPO’s newer vehicles, a white 2008 Nissan Frontier pickup truck, and loaded it with other items taken from the office.

According to HPO’s Mertie Kani, police found the vehicle yesterday at the old airport road in Koblerville. The vehicle was found with the battery and radiator cover stolen. The vehicle was brought back to the office and is currently awaiting a battery replacement.

Other items stolen from the office’s storage room included two brand new bush cutters, a brand new chainsaw, a backpack blower, a Nauticam zoom gear lens, a Nauticam Macro port, a cell phone, and personal items that belonged to the staff of HPO.

Kani told Saipan Tribune that the perpetrator was able to squeeze his way through the metal gates that secured the office. “Its possible for them to get in as long as they are thin,” said Kani.

The office believes the perpetrator or one of the perpetrators was a thin person because the gates showed no signs of damage.

HPO also believes the perpetrators could also be the same individuals who burglarized the office in January because they knew where and how the office could be breached and where all the security light wires were located.

The perpetrators pried the bars on the window of the men’s washroom and smashed the newly installed glass windows.

The perpetrators also cut the wires of the newly installed security lights. The lights were newly installed from the last burglary as well.

Once inside the office, the perpetrators ransacked the entire office, destroying doors and desk drawers where they found the box of keys that were labeled for the storage room, the vehicles, and the back gate.

Allegedly, the vehicle was stolen for the sole purpose of transporting the stolen items.

According to Kani, the office was greatly saddened by the incident, but is moving forward and is currently tightening the security of HPO and is working on getting funding to replace the items that were stolen.

The plan is to add additional security lights and cameras, and additional bars on the windows.

Kani said this was the worst burglary incident the office has faced and the second burglary incident this year. In the first incident in January, the perpetrators were never caught.

Individuals with information on the stolen items or the whereabouts of the perpetrators are urged to contact the Department of Public Safety, HPO at 664-2120, or the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs at 664-2584.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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