REWARD OFFERED: Ni‘ihau Lei Stolen from Maui Hands

July 18, 2017, 7:47 AM HST · Updated July 18, 8:58 AM
Debra Lordan · 11 Comments

A surveillance image of the Maui Hands Makawao burglar shows him breaking into the back door of the gallery.

UPDATE: July 18, 2017, 8:55 a.m.

Maui Hands owner Panna Cappelli is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the thief.

After viewing extensive surveillance footage, Cappelli added that the thief could actually be a woman…

ORIGINAL POST: July 18, 2017, 7:47 a.m.


Maui Hands Art Gallery in Makawao was burglarized in the early morning hours of Monday, July 17, 2017.

The gallery features work by local Hawai‘i artists and is one of the few business on the island that sells authentic lei made of small shells of various colors from the Island of Ni‘ihau.

Maui Hands owner Panna Cappelli said the burglar smashed open the gallery’s back door at approximately 5 a.m.


“He went first to our hunting knife collection and then to our Ni‘ihau case and smashed the case,” said Cappelli. “Obviously, had already scoped us out. He was in and out in about a minute.”

“He took almost my entire Ni’ihau lei collection,” said Cappelli.

The collection’s estimated value is over $200,000.

Maui Hands’ Ni‘ihau shell lei collection was stolen in the early morning hours of Monday, July 17, 2017. Courtesy photo from Maui Hands.

Although the image of the burglar was captured on a surveillance camera, Cappelli said, “We don’t recognize him at all.”

The burglar is described as 6-feet tall with dark, thick, curly hair.

Cappelli said it looks like he has a large tattoo on his right hand.

If you have any information about this suspect or the stolen shell lei, email Maui Police Officer Ashley Gandauli at and refer to police report #17-029576.

The shop is located at 1169 Makawao Ave.

Debra Lordan
Debra Lordan has been a writer and website editor for Maui Now since December 2014.

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