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In Brief | Big Island & State | 3-7-14

March 7, 2014 - 6:26am

Police looking for info about attempted robbery

Hawaii Island police are renewing their request for information about an attempted robbery that occurred in Hilo on Halloween night.

At about 8 p.m. Oct. 31, police responded to the Waiakea Villas after receiving a report from a 49-year-old Hilo man that while walking in the complex toward his vehicle in the parking lot, he was accosted by a man who brandished a weapon and demanded money, according to the Hawaii Police Department. After the victim refused the demand, the suspect fled the area. The victim was not injured in the robbery attempt.

The suspect is described as “local,” in his late 20s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing about 200 pounds with a light mustache, according to police. He was wearing a black T-shirt, dark shorts and a cap embroidered with the words “BJ Penn.”

Anyone who may know the identity of the suspect or who has any information on this incident is asked to call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Dean Uyetake at 961-2379 or

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Help sought identifying bank robbery suspect

Hawaii Island police are renewing their request for the public’s help in identifying a suspect wanted for the attempted robbery of a Hilo bank in January.

Just before 6 p.m. on Jan. 10, police responded to a reported robbery attempt at the Territorial Savings Bank branch on Makaala Street in Hilo, according to the Hawaii Police Department. Responding officers learned that at about 5:53 p.m., a 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.

The suspect was described as Caucasian, in his mid to late 20s, about 6 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing about 185 to 200 pounds with short wavy black hair and facial acne, according to police. 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. Police also recovered bank surveillance video and still images.

Anyone with information on this incident or who may know the identity of the suspect is asked to call the department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Dean Uyetake at 961-2379 or

Those who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Man charged with burglary, other charges

A 20-year-old man faces is facing felony burglary and other offenses following a reported burglary early Tuesday in Kealakekua.

At 4:36 a.m. Tuesday, Hawaii Police Department officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress at an apartment complex on Kiloa Road.

A 75-year-old woman reported she awoke to find an unknown man in a green hooded sweatshirt rummaging though items in her apartment. After the suspect ran from the apartment, the woman discovered that her purse had been removed from her truck.

Responding officers saw a man wearing clothing matching the description of the suspect and detained him. Further investigation linked him to the burglary, police said.

John Small of Captain Cook was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while Area II Criminal Investigations Section detectives continued the investigation. Police reportedly located property belonging to the woman and other property that had been removed from another vehicle at the same apartment complex. They also reportedly located 4.9 grams of marijuana.

On Wednesday afternoon, Small was charged with first-degree burglary, two counts of unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, two counts of theft, and one count each of theft of a credit card, unauthorized possession of personal information and promoting a detrimental drug, according to police. His bail was set at $68,000.

He remained at the cellblock pending his initial court appearance Thursday.

Superyacht VAVA II docked off Kona

The superyacht VAVA II is currently positioned in Kailua Bay in the waters off Kona. The vessel measures more than 314 feet in length.

According to, VAVA II cost $100 million to build and is owned by Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli. listed Ernesto Bertarelli’s net worth as of this month at $12 billion. Kirsty Bertarelli is a songwriter and former Miss UK.

Bar group: Hawaii high court pick ‘unqualified’

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Bar Association is calling the governor’s state Supreme Court nominee “unqualified.”

The bar association has informed the state Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee of its rating of Circuit Court Judge Michael Wilson.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie last month announced he is appointing the former chairman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources to be an associate justice on the state’s high court.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the bar association hasn’t explained why Wilson is considered unqualified for the job.

Abercrombie said he’s confident in Wilson’s experience and leadership.

Judiciary and Labor Committee Chairman Sen. Clayton Hee said he doesn’t see the rating as a “fatal blow” to his confirmation.

A confirmation hearing was scheduled for Thursday before Hee’s committee.

Meth ring jury presses on to reach verdict

HONOLULU — Jurors who have been deliberating for two weeks in a major Hawaii meth ring trial are being asked to keep trying to reach a verdict.

The jury on Thursday sent a note to the court saying that after “earnest” deliberations they’re “deadlocked on four counts regarding various defendants.” It’s their 13th note during deliberations.

They’re deliberating in a case involving four men accused of trafficking hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine to Hawaii.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi asked the jury to write down the decisions they’ve made so far and put them in a sealed envelope. She then asked them to keep trying to reach a unanimous verdict.

Federal prosecutors have faced problems in the case, including Kobayashi ruling they were “sloppy” and “tardy” in providing discovery materials.

Maui County identifies Lanai plane crash victims

WAILUKU, Maui — Maui County has released the names of those who died in a small chartered plane crash on Lanai last week.

The county said Wednesday the 66-year-old pilot and owner of the aircraft, Richard Rooney, died along with two Maui County employees.

Fifty-two-year old Tremaine Balderdi was a board and commission secretary. Kathleen Kern, 50, was a planner in the county planning department.

The county said all victims were positively identified.

The chartered plane crashed Feb. 26 in a former pineapple field about 1 mile from the Lanai airport. Three other Maui County employees aboard the flight were injured with burns.

Maui County chartered the plane operated by Maui Air Tours to fly to Lanai for a planning department meeting.

By local and wire sources