Kainaliu shoplifting suspect arrested
Hawaii Island police have charged a Captain Cook woman with a felony in connection with a shoplifting incident in October.
On Oct. 29, a man and a woman entered a clothing store in Kainaliu, where they removed items of clothing valued at more than $1,000 without paying for them, according to the Hawaii Police Department.
After viewing the store’s surveillance video, police were able to identify the suspects.
On Sunday, Cassandra Lynn Ellis, 29, of Captain Cook was arrested and taken to the Kona police cell block while Area II Criminal Investigations Section detectives continued the investigation. Detectives charged her with second-degree theft on Monday morning. Her bail was set at $10,000. She remains at the cell block pending her initial court appearance scheduled for today.
Free tow, ride service offered for New Year’s
AAA Hawaii is offering its free Tipsy Tow service during the New Year’s holiday. The service is available from 6 p.m. today until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Tipsy Tow is available in the areas served by AAA Hawaii.
Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver may call 800-222-4357 for a free tow home of up to 5 miles. Callers simply tell the AAA operators, “I need a Tipsy Tow,” to receive the free tow and ride home. A regular AAA Hawaii-contracted roadside assistance service truck will be dispatched. Tipsy Tow is unique in that it provides a driver with a safe ride home for themselves and their vehicle instead of driving while intoxicated.
Callers need to keep in mind that the service excludes rides for passengers, is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver and the destination is limited to the driver’s residence. Reservations are not accepted. Drivers can expect to pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor for rides farther than 5 miles.
Big Isle police probe Puna lab explosion
Hawaii Island police are investigating a drug-related explosion that sent a man to the hospital with severe injuries.
At 8:16 p.m. Saturday, police responded to a report of a loud explosion at a home on 17th Street in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna. When officers arrived, Fire Department personnel were already at the scene, where smoke was present, but not flames. The blast had knocked out windows, melted plumbing fixtures and blown the doors off cabinets, according to the Hawaii Police Department.
The sole occupant, a 30-year-old Keaau man, was initially taken to the Hawaiian Paradise Park Fire Station by a private vehicle. He was then taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center with third-degree burns. He was later transferred to a hospital on Oahu, police said.
Police recovered 102 marijuana plants from an indoor growing operation, more than an ounce of butane honey oil — a marijuana byproduct — in several stages of manufacture, three e-cigarettes and components associated with the manufacture of butane honey oil.
Area I Vice Section detectives are continuing the investigation.
Anyone with information about any butane honey oil lab should call the Police Department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 329-8181 in Kona or 961-8300 in Hilo and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
Crews address East Hawaii power outages
Hawaii Electric Light Co. personnel responded Monday to a small number of power outages caused by numerous lightning strikes throughout the Hamakua to Puna areas.
The outages were sporadic and isolated, HELCO stated in a news release.
“Despite the many lightning strikes to our transmission and distribution lines, our skilled crews and system operators have been able to restore service to most customers as quickly and safely as possible,” said Distribution Department Manager Roger Keller. “Restoration efforts are continuing, and the safety of our employees and customers is our top priority.”
Power interruptions and voltage disturbances are possible as long as the stormy conditions persist. Do not touch fallen or low hanging power lines or anything they may be in contact with. A seemingly harmless wire may still be energized. Stay clear of puddles where downed lines may have landed, HELCO stated.
Customers may call 969-6666 to report power outages and downed power lines.
Fireworks prohibited in national parks
Fireworks are always prohibited in national parks, including on New Year’s Eve, according to federal law.
Visitors will notice “Fireworks Prohibited” signs posted near the entrance to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which are intended to remind the public that fireworks are not permitted in any national park.
“Our priorities as caretakers for these public lands are to keep the public and our natural, cultural and historical resources safe,” said James Courtright, fire management officer for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Pacific Island Park Network.
Muliwai trail, Waimanu campground closed
The Muliwai trail and Waimanu Valley campground in North Kohala closed Monday because of heavy rains and flooding, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaii County Civil Defense were working to determine if there were any stranded hikers in Waimanu Valley.
Hikers should not to try to cross flooded streams because of the danger of being swept away. Instead, they should wait on high ground until the stream has subsided, DLNR said.
DLNR will reopen the trail once its staff have inspected and made any needed repairs.