Two Puna men charged in stolen vehicle incidents



Police have charged two Puna men with numerous property, firearm, and drug offenses.

The charges against 48-year-old John Patrick Rapozo and 44-year-old Kiha Rodney Kaahu stem from an incident on Thursday at around 2:15 p.m., when police received information about the whereabouts of a stolen vehicle on Kalara Street, in Keaau’s Shipman Industrial Park. As officers were preparing to converge onto the commercial property, the stolen vehicle was driven onto Kalara Street. The driver, identified as Kaahu, immediately accelerated to avoid police contact and drove the stolen vehicle across Kipimana Street into the field of a nearby nursery, damaging agricultural property. Moments later, Kaahu and his female passenger, 39-year-old Maria Kaululani Moala, were arrested as they attempted to flee the stolen vehicle that had become immobilized.


As police were further investigating at the Kalara Street business, another stolen vehicle was spotted approaching the area. Upon seeing police, the driver immediately turned around and fled at a high rate of speed down Kipimana Street. Police were able to identify the driver as Rapozo. A short time later the vehicle was involved in a traffic collision near the intersection of Route 11 and Highway 130.

The stolen vehicle left the scene and began traveling back towards Hilo. A short time later, witnesses observed Rapozo abandoning the vehicle on Shipman property off of Kipimana Street, opposite the entrance to the Shipman Industrial Park. He was found hiding in the center-median area of Highway 11 and Kipimana Street.

Execution of search warrants on the vehicle being operated by Rapozo and a backpack recovered in his possession, yielded a loaded firearm and ammunition, as well as 6.8 grams of methamphetamine.

Rapozo was charged with: two counts each of first-degree unauthorized control of a stolen vehicle, first-degree theft and resisting an order to stop; first-degree criminal property damage; first- and second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug; and four firearms offenses.

Rapozo’s total bail is set at $295,000.

Execution of a search warrant on the vehicle being operated by Kaahu yielded various drug paraphernalia items with a measurable amount of methamphetamine reside; as well as items linked to additional crimes still under investigation.

Kaahu was charged with: first-degree unauthorized control of stolen vehicle; first-degree theft; first-degree criminal property damage; and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug

Kaahu’s bail was set at $70,000.

Rapozo and Kaahu remain in custody pending their initial court appearance scheduled for this afternoon in Hilo District Court.

Moala was released from police custody on Saturday afternoon, pending further investigation.

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