By COLIN M. STEWART
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
Police are on the lookout for two suspects who reportedly invaded a Hilo-area home Monday night wearing masks and bearing firearms.
Officers responded to a home on Ainaola Drive in the upper Waiakea Uka area shortly after 10:30 p.m. after receiving a report that the masked men had confronted an elderly man and his son, bound them, and demanded money.
The victims, the 72-year-old homeowner and his 51-year-old son, had been in the house when the masked men entered through an unlocked door, according to a police department press release.
The suspects gathered a number of household belongings at the front door and then entered the 51-year-old’s neighboring home, which is located on the same parcel of property, said Lt. Gregory Esteban. Once the suspects left the first house, the younger of the two victims managed to free himself from his constraints and lock the front door, preventing the gunmen from re-entering the home.
According to the release, the armed men fled the scene with “an undisclosed amount of money.” Additionally, neither victim sustained any injuries in the incident, which has been classified by police as an instance of burglary, terroristic threatening, robbery, and unlawful imprisonment.
In a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Esteban described one of the suspects as 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing about 120 pounds. The other man was described as 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighting between 230 and 250 pounds. Both were wearing dark clothing, and neither their age nor race were evident, he said.
“Although we haven’t excluded the possibility that there is an association between the suspects and the victims, we don’t have any supporting evidence of that at this time,” Esteban said.
Esteban was careful to refrain from releasing much detail about the home invasion, saying that to do so could jeopardize the investigation. He was unable to release what kind of weapons were used by the suspects, any identifying characteristics of their clothing, the identities of the victims, or their addresses. He also would not go on the record concerning the manner in which the victims were bound by their captors.
“That’s something only the suspects would know, and we want to remain off the record about that right now while these men are still at large,” he said.
He added that home invasions are relatively rare events in the area, and, at this point, he is unable to say why the home may have been targeted. He did say, however, that the victims are to be commended for handling the situation correctly.
“Any type of forced invasion into a home, it’s gotta be a traumatic experience for the victims,” he said. “In this instance, I believe their compliance with the suspects may have prevented any injuries.”
Esteban said he hoped to appeal to the public to provide his detectives with any tips that might help them to find the suspects or other people of interest in the home invasion. Detective Wendell Carter can be contacted at 961-2378 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Detective Ernest Matsumoto Jr. may be contacted at 961-2379 or by email at email@example.com.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.
Email Colin M. Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.