Mental health evaluation ordered for suspect

  • Altman

A mental evaluation was ordered Thursday for a Kailua-Kona man accused of trying to carjack two vehicles and robbing a man of his cellphone before fleeing in a stolen utility vehicle in Keauhou.

Jacob Robert Altman, 34, made his initial court appearance Thursday in Kona District Court on charges of of first-degree robbery, first-degree unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and second-degree theft filed in connection with a crime spree Tuesday morning in Keauhou.

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Police were called to the area after a woman reported that an unknown man, later identified as Altman, had attempted to take her SUV by using physical force on Alii Drive near the Keauhou Shopping Center. The Hawaii Police Department said Altman was successful in entering the vehicle, but was unable to drive it away.

Altman then reportedly then exited the SUV and attempted to enter a sedan that had stopped to assist the woman, police said. The driver of the sedan was able to flee the area before the man entered their vehicle.

A short time later, police dispatch received a series of calls from the area of Keauhou Bay alerting police that a man matching the same description as the person involved in the earlier vehicle incident had taken a man’s cell phone by force, police said. Altman was then observed taking a utility vehicle, which he drove south through a resort property damaging lighting and sprinklers.

Altman reportedly abandoned the utility vehicle at the south end of Alii Drive and fled on foot before he was located by police and taken into custody.

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On Thursday, Judge Joseph Florendo granted a defense motion to suspend proceedings pending a mental fitness examination. The state did not object, and Florendo set a return date for next month.

Defense counsel also asked Florendo to grant supervised release or a bail reduction to $1,000. Despite no objection from the state to the request, Florendo maintained bail at $16,000 pending the next hearing on April 21.

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