Friday | December 15, 2017
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Police on lookout for 2 escapees from Hale Nani

Big Island police and state sheriffs are searching for two men who escaped late Wednesday from the Hale Nani Correctional Facility in Hilo.

Andrew Wanat, 27, and Robert C. Garcia, 23, 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 early Thursday.

The headcount is conducted about once per hour, she said. The men were last seen about 9 p.m.

Schwartz did not immediately have information on whether the men were on extended or work furlough, or if they had been working that day and did not return to the facility.

Wanat is described as being Caucasian, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 210 pounds with a medium build, shaved head, brown eyes, a mustache and goatee, according to the Hawaii Police Department. He also has tattoos on both inner arms and his entire outer left arm.

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.

Wanat and Garcia were both last seen wearing white Hawaii Community Correction Center shirts and blue HCCC shorts, according to police.

The public is advised not to try to apprehend the men, but to call police at 911, Schwartz said.

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.

A check of 3rd Circuit Court records shows Wanat pleaded guilty in 2011 to forgery, theft, violating a temporary restraining order, and tampering with a witness; in a separate case he pleaded guilty to theft and in another separate case he pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted robbery and theft. He was sentenced concurrently to one year in jail and probation.

Prior to that, in 2008, Wanat had two temporary restraining orders granted against him by Gene Craig Wells, who in 2011 pleaded no contest to charges of manslaughter and assault in connection with the death of Wanat’s father, Edward Wanat, and injury of Andrew Wanat in November 2010. Wells was sentenced to 20 years incarceration.

Wanat was also charged in July 2011 with attempted first-degree robbery and second-degree assault after he reportedly tried to steal from a Kailua-Kona man at the McDonald’s parking lot in Kailua-Kona. Wanat reportedly shot the man in the chest with a pellet gun before fleeing the scene in a car driven by another individual, according to police.

Garcia was sentenced in 2012 to 90 days incarceration after pleading guilty to second-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

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.