Thursday, January 25, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 25, 2001

Man held in attack on tourist at hotel

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

Police arrested a 43-year-old man yesterday in connection with the Waikiki robbery Tuesday that left an 81-year-old tourist from Canada in critical condition.

Police arrested the man at 12:45 a.m. yesterday on Kuhio Avenue, a little more than a block away from where the robbery occurred at the Ohana Waikiki West hotel at 2330 Kuhio Ave.

The man, who was described as homeless, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree robbery and criminal littering, police said. He has not been charged.

Honolulu Police Department Detective Letha DeCaires said detectives have been working "around the clock" to complete the case. Yesterday, detectives talked about the case with the victim’s family.

"They met with family and tried to explain what had occurred," DeCaires said. "Their job is to let them know what is going on, brief them on the investigation and offer them support.

"The case is very sad," DeCaires continued. "It’s just so utterly senseless. It was supposed to be a wonderful, joyous occasion. To think this would happen in our community that we’re so proud of."

According to police, the case broke when Waikiki officers found a witness who provided a possible name for the suspect. Police also received information from CrimeStoppers’ tipsters who also provided the suspect’s name.

Police said the suspect was stopped after Waikiki officers saw him littering the street with peanut shells. He was later identified by a witness, police said.

The robbery occurred when the tourist and his wife, who just arrived from Ontario, were checking in at the hotel, police said. Just before 1:11 a.m., the tourist went to use the lobby restroom, police said.

The robber followed the tourist into the restroom, struck him more than three times with a rock and stole his wallet, police said. Police said they recovered the rock at the scene.

The tourist underwent immediate surgery for his head injuries. He is being treated at the Queen’s Medical Center.

"He’s still so critical," DeCaires said. "This is very tough time for everyone."

Hotel officials have been assisting the family with lodging, food and various necessities, said Barry Wallace, senior vice president of operations for Outrigger Hotels and Resorts.

"Our real concern at the moment is really with the injured gentleman and his family," Wallace, said. "We’re trying to do everything we can to help them through this difficult time."

The hotel is cooperating with the police investigation, said Wallace, adding the hotel does have around-the-clock security measures in place, including guards and security cameras.

The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, which helps tourists who are victims of accidents or crime, is providing assistance to the family, said president Rika Ikeda.

The man is also being investigated for a burglary at the Ocean Resort Hotel Waikiki, 175 Paoakalani Ave., at about 7 a.m. Tuesday, police said. In the Paoakalani Avenue crime, the burglar stole money and T-shirts, police said.

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