In Brief | Big Island & State


Mountain View man accused of carjacking

Police are investigating a possible carjacking Wednesday evening in the Hilo Target parking lot.

A 24-year-old Hilo man told police he was getting into his Hyundai sedan when a man with a weapon threatened him. The assailant took the keys and drove away in the vehicle.

An islandwide bulletin was issued and the vehicle was located in the Pohoiki area Wednesday night. A 19-year-old former Mountain View man was taken into custody and remains in the police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continue the investigation, which is classified as a first degree robbery and unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. A 14-year-old girl who was with the suspect at the time of his arrest was interviewed by detectives and released to her parents.

Detectives are also reviewing video surveillance footage recovered from Target.

The victim was not injured during the incident.

Anyone with information on this case, or who may have witnessed the robbery, is asked to contact Detective Clarence Davies III at 961-2384 or cdavies@co.hawaii.hi.us or Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters 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. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID; all information is kept confidential.

Police seek purse snatcher

Police are investigating a reported purse snatching Wednesday in downtown Hilo.

A Keaau woman told police she and another woman were walking along Haili Street when a man approached them from behind and removed her purse before fleeing into an alleyway below the Palace Theater.

The suspect was described as a local male in his late 20s, wearing a white tank top, brown shorts and a pair of slippers.

Neither woman was injured during the incident.

Police ask anyone with information or who may have witnessed the robbery to call Detective Grant Todd at 961-2385 or email gtodd@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters 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. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Hilo man receives 10-year sentence

A 34-year-old Hilo man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for what the prosecutor in the case called “a horrible and dangerous combination of drugs, guns and violence.”

Third Circuit Judge Glenn Hara on Thursday handed down the sentence to Caylan Kauiki Ua, who pleaded guilty May 13 to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, second-degree assault, second-degree promotion of a harmful drug, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia and interfering with the report of an emergency. The 10-year prison term is the maximum allowed for the two most serious offenses, the firearms and harmful drug charges — the former for a semi-automatic assault rifle, and the latter, possession of a pharmaceutical sedative without a prescription.

According to court documents filed by police, Ua’s then-girlfriend, Trena Leopoldino, suffered a fracture to her right eye socket on March 11 after an argument with Ua turned violent. The altercation occurred in the upper Kaumana home the couple shared after Leopoldino told Ua she was ending the relationship and requested that he leave the house, documents state.

Prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Ua’s bail after he missed a Feb. 13 court date on the drug and firearms charges, but Hara denied the motion. Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier said that allowed Ua to be free when the assault occurred.

Hawaii unemployment lowest since ’08

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last month was the lowest since September 2008.

State officials said Thursday the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in June fell to 4.6 percent, from 4.7 percent in May. A year ago, the rate was 6 percent.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in June, unchanged from May.

The leisure and hospitality sector added 1,700 jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 900 jobs.

In all, there were about 617,000 people with jobs and nearly 30,000 unemployed in June.

Honolulu County had last month’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 percent. Hawaii County was the highest at 7.5 percent. County rates aren’t seasonally adjusted.

Man accepts plea deal in deadly dam breach

LIHUE, Kauai — A retired car dealer pleaded no contest Thursday to reckless endangering in a dam breach on Kauai that swept seven people to their deaths in 2006.

State Attorney General spokeswoman Anne Lopez said that in exchange for James Pflueger’s plea, state prosecutors agreed to drop seven manslaughter counts.

Lopez said the agreement calls for five years’ probation when he’s sentenced Jan. 23. At the sentencing, prosecutors can argue for additional conditions such as community service, a fine and up to a year imprisonment, Lopez said.

Pflueger’s company, Pacific 808 Properties, pleaded no contest to seven counts of manslaughter. The company will pay a $350,000 fine that will go toward a dam inspection and safety program.

“I am satisfied that by entering into this plea agreement Pflueger has accepted responsibility for his part in this tragedy,” Attorney General David Louie said in a statement. “It is my hope that the events of today can provide a degree of closure for the families and community affected by the Ko Loko dam breach.”

He said she’s pleased Hawaii will have an additional $350,000 to help prevent similar tragedies.

Each manslaughter count would have carried a sentence of 20 years in prison for the 87-year-old landowner, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

By local and wire sources