Thursday | January 19, 2017
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Police: Escapees might target banks


Tribune-Herald staff writer

Police said Thursday morning that they’ve received information that two inmates who escaped from Hawaii Community Correctional Center on Wednesday intend to rob a bank.

“We received information that we deemed to be possibly credible,” Police Capt. Robert Wagner of South Hilo Patrol Division said Thursday morning. He didn’t say whether the information came from within the jail or from sources outside the facility.

Police recommend heightened security measures at all Big Island financial institutions.

“We just want to make sure that all the banks are on heightened alert,” Wagner said. “Another section of the department is trying to notify all the banks, to get the information out to them as quickly as possible. They intend, through email, to send notification to as many banks as possible.”

The first suspect is identified as 35-year-old Jarvis Naoki Higa. He is described as Japanese, about 5-foot-6 tall, about 160 pounds with short black hair and tattoos on his chest. Higa is considered dangerous and may be armed. He was being held at the facility awaiting trial for an attempted murder charge, in which he allegedly shot at a 34-year-old Hilo man and missed in July of this year.

The second suspect is identified as 31-year-old Ryan James Jeffries-Hamar. He is described as Caucasian, about 5-foot-7, about 170 pounds, with blue eyes and short reddish-brown hair. Jeffries-Hamar was serving his sentence at the facility for a parole violation and was also awaiting trial for a previous escape from the Hale Nani facility in August of this year.

Police consider both men to be dangerous. The two men were reportedly spotted Wednesday in the Sunrise Ridge subdivision, where they allegedly ditched a car stolen from the HCCC’s law librarian, and in Kaumana, where they allegedly broke into a home to steal civilian clothes and attempted to steal another vehicle, according to police.

“There have been other sightings, but we haven’t confirmed if it was them or not. We did make checks in a couple of different areas, as recently as (Thursday morning), but we haven’t confirmed that it was a credible sighting, because we end up finding nobody.”

Wagner said that the reported sightings of the escapees have been in Hilo.

Police urge the public to not approach either man if they see them, and to immediately call 911 if they see either man.

Email John Burnett at


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