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Police charge a man and woman with arson of Kona courthouse

MEDIA RELEASE

A man and a woman arrested this week on unrelated offenses have been charged with arson in connection with a deliberately-set fire at a Kona courthouse.

At 8:45 a.m. Wednesday (March 16), detectives charged 22-year-old Kainoa Lindo of Hōnaunau with first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit arson, first-degree criminal property damage, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and first-degree terroristic threatening.

Randi-Keli Banagan, 24, of Captain Cook was charged with first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit arson, first-degree criminal property damage, first-degree terroristic threatening and revocation of probation.

The charges stem from three separate crimes.

At 6:59 a.m. on March 3, Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a fire at Big Island Drug Court on Halekiʻi Street in Kealakekua. Arriving officers learned that passersby had extinguished the flames with fire extinguishers from the courthouse before police and firefighters arrived. Two employees were in the courthouse when the fire was set but no injuries were reported. Damage was confined to the front door and a wall.

Investigation revealed that the occupants of a pickup truck and a sedan seen in the courthouse parking lot were responsible for the fire and that the pickup truck had been stolen January 29 from the parking lot of an apartment complex on Aliʻi Drive. Police recovered the truck in Hoʻokena on March 8.

Monday morning (March 14) they arrested Lindo on suspicion of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. He was held at the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

Monday afternoon, Banagan was arrested in connection with a gun threat Sunday (March 13) at the scenic lookout off Kamehameha III Road in Keauhou. She was held at the cellblock while detectives continued the investigation.

In the gun threat incident, a woman later identified as Banagan reportedly exited a van and pointed what was described as a black handgun at a 17-year-old girl who was accompanied by another 17-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy. A male suspect, whose face was concealed, was holding what was described as a rifle. The pair then fled without further incident. Investigation determined that Lindo was the man in the van.

Further investigation determined that Lindo and Banagan were responsible for the courthouse fire.

Lindo’s bail was set at $810,000. Banagan’s was set at $1 million. Both remain at the cellblock pending their initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday (March 17).

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