KAILUA-KONA — A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft and burglary charges in connection to a slew of break-ins at businesses and a residence within the past week, police confirmed Friday.
Hawaii Police Department officers took the Kona man into custody Wednesday after he allegedly attempted to steal the contents of a cash vault at a business on Olowalu Street in the Kaloko Light Industrial Park, according to a department press release.
Officials say the suspect, later identified as Rodney Kahele Jr., had entered a secure area of the business that contained the vault. However, he was unable to remove any cash from within after being confronted by an employee. At that point, police say, Kahele fled the area on foot.
That same day, Kahele was taken into custody at a nearby business while detectives from the department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation, the release states.
During the course of their investigation, detectives concluded Kahele also was responsible for break-ins at four area businesses and a residence on Kaiminani Drive.
The first reported break-in occurred April 11 on Kahakai Road. According to the release, a safe containing cash and a cash register drawer were removed — neither of which have been recovered.
The release states officers responded April 12 to a gas station on Luhia Street and determined a cashier’s room had been entered and a locked cash box was taken. Investigations revealed Kahele and another male were responsible for the break-in. The cash box was recovered by police.
On Monday, officers responded to a Henry Street business after a man was observed removing a cash register from the business. Investigations determined Kahele was responsible for that theft as well. The cash register has not been recovered, the release states.
On Tuesday, officers spotted Kahele in the parking lot of a business located on Mamalahoa Highway. When they attempted to confront him, he fled the area on foot. Shortly after Kahele fled, a resident who lives nearby on Kaiminani Drive reported a man had removed a bicycle from their residence. Investigations revealed Kahele was responsible for the theft. The bicycle was recovered by detectives Thursday on Holoholo Street.
Later on Tuesday, a business located on Olowalu Street was entered and two cash drawers containing coins were removed from within, the release states. Investigations revealed Kahele also was responsible for the theft. The cash drawers and coins were recovered by police.
Kahele was charged with first-degree burglary, three counts of second-degree of burglary, first-degree attempted theft, two counts of second-degree theft, third-degree theft, two counts of fourth-degree theft, two counts of fourth-degree criminal property damage, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and contempt of court. Kahele appeared in District Court on Friday. Judge Margaret Masunaga maintained bail at $92,000 and set a preliminary hearing for Monday.
Email Tiffany DeMasters at email@example.com.