By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Police say there has been a rash of burglaries in the upper Kaumana and Piihonua areas since the beginning of the year, and are still seeking a suspect they believe to be responsible.
Police Capt. Robert Wagner of South Hilo Patrol Division said Wed-nesday there have been “more than 10” burglaries in the affected neighborhoods since the beginning of the year. He said the burglaries have occurred in the late afternoon and evening, and the suspect is a man on foot who claims to be looking for a lost puppy if confronted by neighborhood residents.
Police have identified Kyson Kaleiwahea as “a person of interest” in those burglaries, Wagner said, and added that similar incidents have occurred recently in other neighborhoods with a suspect fitting Kaleiwahea’s description apparently casing homes and using a similar excuse when confronted.
“We’ve also got a character just showed up in the Waiakea area, lost puppy kind of deal, no reported burglary but it seemed to be the same M.O. Same time frame, backyard,” Wagner said. “He likes those evening, almost night hours and he also likes night, as well. And we had a similar incident in Wainaku, but it was a little different. The guy said he was looking for his lost goat. I guess he may be adapting to the area, maybe.
“It appears to be the same person.”
Wagner said that “generally speaking, smaller items” have been targeted in the burglaries, such as purses, an M.O. that appears to be consistent with what a suspect on foot can take.
“Make sure your doors are locked, because usually we’re finding that entry is at an unclocked point,” he said. “On some occasions, people are actually home, as well.”
Kaleiwahea was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation on two counts of burglary on June 7, 2011. In exchange for his guilty plea, charges of theft and property damage were dropped. He was also sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation on May 25, 2012, for second-degree promotion of a harmful drug. In exchange for his guilty plea in that case, two counts of burglary and a theft charge were dropped.
He was admitted into the Drug Court program, but is wanted on three warrants with bail totaling $150,000, two for violating the conditions of his release under that program, as well as violating his probation on the drug charge, Wagner said.
Kaleiwahea is described as 5-foot-8, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. He also has tattoos behind his neck, left leg, and lower back. He’s believed to be in the Kaumana or Piihonua areas, police said.
Asked if Kaleiwahea has any known accomplices, Wagner replied that he has “persons he associates with.”
“If anybody’s harboring him, he’s wanted on warrants, and due to his offenses, it’s a felony to harbor Kyson Kaleiwahea.”
Anyone with information on Kaleiwahea’s whereabouts is asked to call the police non-emergency line at 935-3311. Those who prefer anonymity may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.