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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 10:28 a.m., Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Helicopter tracks alleged car thief

Advertiser Staff

A tip to police and the serendipitous presence of the police helicopter yesterday helped thwart the apparent plans of an alleged car thief in Mililani.

An anonymous caller phoned the Wahiawa police station at about 11:45 a.m. to report that a man could be found sitting in a stolen Ford Mustang at the corner of Waikalani Street and Waikalani Place in the Melemanu subdivision near Kamehameha Highway.

Police arrived at the scene and confirmed that a 25-year-old man had reported that the car had been stolen from him.

As the officers rolled up on the Mustang and prepared to arrest the 23-year-old driver, who has no local address, he quickly drove off.

A police helicopter, which happened to be almost directly overhead at the time for unrelated reasons, tracked the Mustang a short distance and watched as the driver lost control of the vehicle and smashed into a parked truck.

The helicopter pilot told officers on the ground that the driver jumped out of the car and ran into a nearby building.

Police then searched the building, found the driver and arrested him on suspicion of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident, resulting in damage to a vehicle or property.