A bizarre incident Tuesday afternoon at the Hilo Home Depot parking lot ended with the arrest of a 55-year-old Pahoa man and a video admission by a Big Island mayoral candidate he and friends used vehicles to block the parking lot to hunt for an alleged would-be abductor.
According to a written Hawaii Police Department statement, police were called to a disturbance at the store at about 1:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Officers determined a 24-year-old Volcano woman left the store and noticed a “zip tie” attached to her vehicle — which is, according to claims on social media, a sign the occupant of the vehicle is being targeted for abduction or human trafficking.
The woman left the parking lot, then returned, police said, and blocked one of the store’s parking lot entrances with her car.
The Pahoa man, Angelo Valentino, entered her car in an attempt to move it out of the way, according to police. Police say that in the process, Valentino assaulted the woman, and bystanders restrained the man until police arrived.
Valentino was charged with second-degree unauthorized entry to a motor vehicle and third-degree assault, both misdemeanors. According to a police log, he was released from custody after posting $1,500 bail and has an Aug. 25 court date.
Michael “Mikey” Glendon, a 38-year-old candidate for mayor who has twice in the past decade been acquitted on criminal charges because of mental incapacity, said in a Facebook video that had more than 5,600 views by late afternoon Wednesday, he received a distraught call from the woman, whom he identified as his girlfriend.
“All the fear in her head explodes,” Glendon said. “She calls me, and I’m so thankful she did.”
Glendon said he called some friends for backup, but didn’t call police.
“Why call the cops when this s—- is still going on?” he said.
According to Glendon, he asked Home Depot to see video surveillance, but was told he couldn’t without a police report.
“I don’t need to see a video to verify it. So we run outside, block the parking lot,” Glendon said in the Facebook video, noting that three cars were involved in the blockade. “Because whoever’s doing this is here in this parking lot. So I’m goin’ block this thing and check every car and find out.”
Glendon said that as he and associates searched the parking lot, everyone except Valentino — whom Glendon described as a “haole guy trying to escape with his life” — was cooperative.
“They’re not complaining,” Glendon said. “They’re asking, ‘Braddah, what’s the matter? What’s going on?’ Every single one … we’re telling ’em, fast, running through this parking lot, checking, making sure everybody’s OK. … We’ve been waiting for this as a people for a long time, somebody to do something. Everybody’s all in, searching.”
Glendon said he could “faintly hear” his girlfriend’s voice in the distance, “so I start sprinting.”
“And in this long distance, I can see one guy open the door to get in her car, kicks the door, close the door. I can see him throwing punches and kicks. By the time I get there, the boys have already took the guy down and held him for the police,” Glendon said. “… Nobody complained. Everybody was on key except for this one guy that’s not from here. He wanted to leave in a hurry, to the point where he’s squaring up with a girl to fight.”
Glendon admitted he engaged in a verbal confrontation with a Hilo patrol officer, but wasn’t arrested. He also addressed the issue of zip ties being left on windshield wipers and antennas of cars of potential victims — a narrative fact-checking sites Snopes and Politifact say is false. Police said in their statement they “cannot confirm any validity to that story in this case.”
“So if it’s a hoax … you tell me why zip ties are on girls traveling by themselves?” Glendon said “… Hoax or not, brah, I don’t take chances with my life, or my people’s life, on this island.”
“So now, we’re at a point where all exits are blocked, and there’s this one guy who’s not from here, has an accent, haole guy, trying to escape with his life. Instant red flag, instant common sense, yeah, to us local people.”
Valentino posted a reply of his own on Facebook, apparently to the alleged victim, saying “the cops believed your BS story and sped me away to the lock up,” and described the event as a militia commandeering the parking lot.
“So us shoppers are freaking out, thinking there is a mass shooting in the making, my only thought is to get the (expletive) out of here,” Valentino posted. “I open your stupid car door and you run over to me and assault me, and I know it’s all on security camera, so I am not afraid to say you hit me first.
“Your (expletive) brothers then grab me, throw me to the ground proceed to punch my face and hold me down until police arrive. The cops put me in cuffs and away I go.”
Capt. Reed Mahuna, Hilo Patrol commander, didn’t return a Wednesday call in time for this story.
Email John Burnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.