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In Brief | Big Island & State | 1-14-14

Updated: 
January 13, 2014 - 9:21pm

Kurtistown house fire injures elderly couple

An elderly couple suffered injuries following a fire Sunday at their Hawaiian Acres subdivision home in Kurtistown.

The fire occurred around 5:09 a.m. at the single-story, unfinished house at 16-1451 Opeapea St., according to the Hawaii County Fire Department.

Upon arrival, firefighters found the 900-square-foot structure “fully engulfed in flames.” The names of owners or occupants were not released, as of press time.

Fire Battalion Chief Jerry Lum said the couple was treated and transported to the Hilo Medical Center. Their condition was not known.

The fire was under control within 10 minutes of firefighters arriving and extinguished within three and half hours.

Fire officials estimated the damage to the structure to be $105,000. The fire is under investigation.

2 people injured in Hilo house fire

Hawaii County Fire Department officials say two people were injured in an early morning house fire in Hilo.

Responding to the 4:14 a.m. call Monday, firefighters arrived at the single-story residence at 2073 Uhaloa Road and discovered the front bedroom engulfed in flames. The fire also extended into the hallway outside of bedroom.

All of the occupants were out of the residence. Two of the occupants reported injuries and were transported to the Hilo Medical Center, according to Fire Department.

The fire was extinguished and the residence overhauled using two fire attack hand lines.

The fire is under investigation and its cause was unknown as of press time.

Man wanted for attempted bank robbery in Hilo

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect wanted for the attempted robbery of a bank in Hilo.

Just before 6 p.m. Friday, police responded to a reported robbery attempt at the Territorial Savings Bank branch on Makaala Street. Responding officers learned that at about 5:53 p.m., a lone man had entered the bank and produced a note demanding money. He fled the bank without any money and was last seen running toward Pohaku Street.

No one was injured during the robbery attempt, police said.

The suspect was described as a Caucasian, in his mid- to late 20s, about 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-2, about 185 to 200 pounds with short wavy black hair and facial acne. He was last seen wearing a blue-and-black striped pullover, jeans and black shoes with red laces.

The suspect appears to be the same individual who entered the bank earlier in the day to inquire about banking there, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Police recovered bank surveillance video and still images.

Anyone with information on this incident or who may know the identity of the suspect should call the police department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Dean Uyetake at 961-2379 or deuytetake@co.hawaii.hi.us. Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

Police charge Kawaihae man with 24 offenses

A 55-year-old Kawaihae man, who was being sought on a grand jury warrant for assault, has been located and charged with an additional 23 offenses, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

Martin Frank Booth, 55, was arrested last Thursday on the warrant and charged with the additional offenses on Friday, police said.

On Dec. 18, the Area II Vice Section executed a search warrant at a home on Honokoa Street in Kawaihae. During the search, police officers recovered 8.1 grams of a crystalline substance, 128 grams of dried green plant material, a rifle and various items of drug paraphernalia.

Russell Kong, 66, of Kawaihae, a 38-year-old Waimea man and 62-year-old Hilo man were arrested at the scene and later released pending further investigation. Booth, who lived at the house, was not present at the scene. Police continued to search for him.

On Dec. 29, Kona patrol officers responded to a Kinue Road home in Captain Cook after a woman reported being threatened with a firearm by an unknown man who had then fled in a sedan. Officers later located the car on Highway 11 in Captain Cook. It was being operated by 39-year-old Regina Patrick of Kealakekua. A male occupant fled on foot.

Police arrested Patrick on an outstanding $250 bench warrant and charged her with contempt of court. She was also arrested on suspicion of promoting dangerous drugs but was released on that offense pending further investigation.

Vice officers executed a search warrant on the car and recovered a loaded pistol, an unloaded shotgun, numerous rounds of ammunition, 18.7 grams of a crystalline substance, 0.9 grams of dried green plant material, 40 prescription pills, brass knuckles, several large knives and paraphernalia associated with the use and sale of crystal methamphetamine.

Police investigation determined Booth had previously been in the car and that he was the person responsible for the threatening incident. Officers continued their search for him.

At 7:30 a.m. Thursday, police located Booth at a home on Luau Drive in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. He was arrested and charged in connection with the $2,000 grand jury bench warrant for second-degree assault and taken to the Kona police cell block while Area II Vice Section detectives continued the investigation into the drug, weapons and threatening offenses.

At 5:15 p.m. Friday, detectives charged Booth with meth trafficking, eight counts of promoting dangerous drugs, promoting controlled substances near a school, three counts of promoting detrimental drugs, three counts of possessing drug paraphernalia, six firearm offenses and terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $266,000. He remained at the cell block until his initial court appearance on Monday.

24 arrested for suspected drunken driving

Hawaii Island police arrested 24 motorists for suspected drunken driving from Jan. 6 through Sunday. Four drivers were involved in traffic crashes and one was under the age 21, according to the Hawaii Police Department.

So far this year, there have been 53 drunken driving arrests compared with 39 during the same period in 2013.

There have also been 41 major accidents in 2014, compared with the 30 during the same period last year.

To date, there have been two traffic fatalities on the Big Island, compared with one during the same period in 2013. None of this year’s fatalities were related to drugs, alcohol or a combination of both, police said.

Maui axis deer survey counts about 8,000 animals

WAILUKU, Maui — The Maui Axis Deer Working Group is trying to quantify the invasive animal’s population, while exploring whether developing a venison meat industry is a feasible solution for controlling its growth.

A September aerial survey counted about 8,000 deer in East Maui, the most heavily affected area. That’s still a preliminary figure, said Kanalu Sproat, the group’s program manager and only full-time staff member. Population estimates have ranged from a couple of thousand to tens of thousands.

“That’s not islandwide, obviously, but it is the core of where the majority of the deer are,” Sproat said of the survey of 125,000 acres.

Axis deer, which have a pinkish color with white spots, were introduced to Maui in 1959, damaging farms, ranches and resorts. The deer are native to India and other parts of South Asia.

The group is working with a University of Delaware student studying a potential venison industry on the island, the Maui News reported Monday. It’s something the Maui Axis Deer Harvesting Cooperative has expressed interest in.

Hunting the animal has led axis deer to become somewhat “culturally important,” Sproat said. Most residents want them controlled, not eliminated, he said.

University of Delaware graduate student Elena Rubino’s thesis is focused on a potential Maui venison industry. She’s asking residents to complete a survey on whether they would be interested in buying axis deer meat.

Sproat noted there are obstacles. For instance, no federal agriculture inspectors are based in Maui, he said. Such inspectors must be present during hunts and when a deer is brought to a slaughterhouse.

The group in March plans to put radio collars on 20 female deer to monitor survival and reproduction rates.

“I wanted to do it on a larger scale, but funding is limited,” Sproat said.

The group will also send surveys to farmers, ranchers and residents asking about the number of axis deer that are seen and what management methods are acceptable.

Honolulu police investigate stabbing death

WAIPAHU, Oahu — Honolulu police are investigating the death of a 42-year-old man who was found stabbed on a street.

Hawaii News Now said the man was taken to Pali Momi Medical Center in critical condition Sunday night after he was found on Kahuanani Street.

Police said the man later died.

The man’s name has not been released.

According to police, the man apparently was involved in an argument with two other men when he was stabbed. The suspects ran from the scene.

By local and wire sources