Rough Sunday for victims of alleged robbers

  • TALATONU SCHUSTER
  • LAWRENCE BOTELHO

A Canadian couple left Kehena Beach Sunday with a Pahoa man they’d just met.

A few hours later, the Pahoa man robbed the tourist woman at knifepoint, according to court documents filed by police.

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The woman reportedly told police that 31-year-old Lawrence K. Botelho offered to provide accommodations to her and her boyfriend, both visitors to the island. According to documents, the couple drove Botelho to Malama Market in Pahoa, where the woman bought groceries, and then they went to a house on Molokai Road in Nanawale Estates that Botelho told them was his home.

There, Botelho allegedly accused the woman of stealing an ounce of marijuana from him.

He then pointed an 8-inch kitchen knife at the woman and demanded her purse, according to documents.

The woman told police Botelho took about $200 in cash from the purse and also stole her Apple iPhone 8, valued at $700, and a Sony Alpha a7 III digital camera valued at about $2,500.

Botelho then allegedly ordered the couple to leave the residence and said he’d grab his gun if they didn’t do so.

A witness at the house identified Botelho as the alleged robber, and the couple selected his image from a photographic lineup, documents state.

Police found Botelho Monday at a Silversword Court home in Ainaloa, arrested him as he attempted to flee, and recovered the camera, according to documents.

Botelho was charged Tuesday with first-degree robbery, a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison upon conviction.

According to court documents, Botelho was convicted of a felony in San Antonio in 2009, but the nature of the crime wasn’t specified. And according to an online report by KSAT-TV in San Antonio, Botelho was charged in 2014 with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in the Texas city.

The Tribune-Herald couldn’t find a follow-up to the article.

On Thursday, Hilo District Judge Kimberly Taniyama ordered Botelho to appear for a preliminary hearing at 2 p.m. Feb. 4.

Botelho remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center in lieu of $50,000 bail.

In an unrelated case, Taniyama on Thursday granted a defense request for a panel of three mental health professionals to examine 33-year-old Talatonu John Schuster of Pahoa, who is charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal property damage.

According to court documents filed by police, Schuster was causing a disturbance outside the Hale Hookah Pahoa tobacco shop on Pahoa Village Road late Sunday morning. When the shop employee, a 30-year-old man, looked out the front door to see what was occurring, Schuster allegedly started yelling at the employee and advanced aggressively toward him.

The employee then closed and locked the store’s front door, whereupon Schuster allegedly threw a large rock into the glass door, causing it to shatter.

Schuster then allegedly broke a large piece of lumber off the wooden porch and used it as a battering ram to enter the shop.

Documents state that Schuster then threw rocks at the employee and damaged three glass showcases and glass pipes within the cases with rocks. He allegedly then grabbed a metal chair and hit the employee on the upper arm before throwing the chair into a 55-inch television, causing it to shatter.

Schuster then allegedly picked up three ashtrays and hurled them at the employee, who escaped the shop through the back door.

The document states Schuster broke into a closed closet and took an iPad, the shop’s cash box, which had $554, and three sets of keys.

Police officers arrested Schuster outside the store. According to documents, Schuster continued to act belligerently while in police custody.

The estimated total damage to the store and its contents was more than $3,200.

Documents state Schuster has no prior felony convictions, but according to court records, on July 10, 2015, Schuster was acquitted by reason of insanity on a charge of first-degree criminal property damage, a Class B felony punishable by 10 years imprisonment upon conviction.

Schuster, who was ordered to return to court on Feb. 11, remains in custody at HCCC in lieu of $45,000 bail.

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Second-degree robbery is a Class B felony, while second-degree burglary and second-degree criminal property damage are Class C felonies punishable by up to five years imprisonment upon conviction.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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