Hilo man charged for second county bus theft in less than a month

MEDIA RELEASE

Kawelo Nakamura

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 21-year-old Hilo man for stealing a county mass transit bus for the second time.

At 1:36 a.m., Monday morning (August 28), county employees reported that the lock on the gate to the County of Hawaiʻi Mass Transit base yard was cut and the gates were found opened. Reports received indicated that a 42-passenger bus was taken from the base yard and may have been seen heading in the Hāmākua direction over the Wailuku Bridge on Highway 19 and later on Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway near Mauna Lani.

At 6:24 a.m., police briefly pursued the bus after it was observed traveling into Hilo on Bayfront Highway, but the pursuit was discontinued in the interest of public safety. At 6:45 a.m., the bus was located at the Kawamoto Swim Stadium where the suspect, Kawelo Nakamura was taken into custody without incident. He was transported to the Hilo cellblock while detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation.

Tuesday afternoon (August 29), police charged Nakamura with one count each of first-degree theft, resisting an order to stop, second-degree reckless endangering, reckless driving, driving without a commercial driver’s license, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, criminal property damage and two counts of inattention to driving. His bail has been set at $42,000, and he is being held at the Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Center pending his initial appearance Wednesday afternoon (August 30), in District Court.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or have any other information about it is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Todd Pataray of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2382 or Todd.Pataray@hawaiicounty.gov.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.