Police continue to search for Garcia, 1 of 2 men who escaped Hale Nani


Big Island police continue to search for 23-year-old Robert C. Garcia, one of two men who escaped a Hilo area minimum security correctional facility Wednesday night.

Garcia is described as being African-American, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 130 pounds with short black hair and brown eyes. He often wears a goatee and mustache, and he has tattoos on his right forearm and the left side of his neck. He was last seen wearing a white Hawaii Community Correction Center shirt and blue HCCC shorts, according to police.

Police caution the public not to try to apprehend him, but rather to call police at 911.

On Friday, police apprehended 27-year-old Andrew Wanat, who fled the Hale Nani Correctional Facility along with Garcia, in Kailua-Kona. He was arrested by police officers at 11:50 a.m. after two foot chases.

Wanat and Garcia, who are both part of Hale Nani’s reintegration program, were not present for a 10:30 p.m. Wednesday headcount at the minimum security facility’s housing unit, said state Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Toni Schwartz. The headcount is conducted about once per hour, she said. The men were last seen about 9 p.m.

Both men were at the facility for violations of terms or conditions of probation, Schwartz said. Garcia was scheduled for release on Oct. 2 while Wanat was slated to be released Jan. 13.

Hale Nani is a minimum security facility. It provides an offender reintegration and a work release program for sentenced inmates who will be released on Hawaii Island, according to the Department of Public Safety.