Mililani burglary suspect arrested
By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Will Hoover
Honolulu police said yesterday they believe the "Mililani burglar" is finally out of business, ending a one-man crime spree that has frightened residents and dogged authorities for months.
According to the HPD, convicted burglar Marlon Galapon ran out of luck at 3:14 p.m. Thursday, when he arrived at his girlfriend's place after he'd finished his day job with a local landscaping business.
"I was at work all day," Galapon told arresting officer Michelle Phillips of the District 2 station in Wahiawa.
Phillips figured she knew better. About two hours earlier, a Mililani Mauka resident notified police that he had seen a man matching Galapon's description breaking into his home. Soon after, the man positively identified Galapon in a police photo lineup.
The resident had taken enough mental notes to provide authorities with a detailed description of the would-be thief — right down to the clothing Galapon was wearing when Phillips arrested him.
Galapon, 34, was charged yesterday with attempted burglary. His bail has been set at $40,000.
Police said they believe he is responsible for many — if not most — of more than 100 burglaries in the area since Nov. 16 — 85 from Nov. 16 to Dec. 31, 22 in January and two in February.
Galapon's reaction to his arrest on Thursday?
"He laughed," said Phillips. "He thought it was a joke until I asked him if he was a United States citizen, and he said, 'No,' and I said, 'Good.'
After that, Galapon turned serious, she said.
"Hopefully, we can get something going where he can go back to the Philippines."
According to HPD detective Randall Borges, lead investigator, authorities have got plenty to work with. "We nailed this guy," he said. "I can say this, I've checked his pawn records and there are thousands of dollars of jewelry that have been pawned by this person since 1998."
In addition to attempted burglary, the city prosecutor is preparing to charge Galapon with at least one count of first-degree burglary. Police probably have collected enough evidence to bring more burglary charges, said Borges.
"And he is also awaiting sentencing on four other burglaries for which he was found guilty," Borges said. "While he was out on bail, he continued his tricks of the trade."
According to investigators, those tricks included walking away from his job, ringing doorbells, and quickly breaking into and entering homes in broad daylight if there was no answer.
"It was daytime, while people were at work," Borges said. "This guy goes right up to the house, rings the doorbell, waits a while, and then sneaks around back and looks into a window to see if anybody's maybe coming."
After the heists, Borges said, the thief would go back to work. That was his alibi.
But on Thursday, the Mililani Mauka home didn't have window louvers (the Mililani burglar's usual mode of entry).
Also, the owner of the house was watching the drama unfold from an upstairs window. When the owner came down and encountered a man trying to break into his garage, the startled thief fled.
Borges credits the arrest to exceptional teamwork and "good, old-fashioned police work."
The officers on the street were very alert, he said, and police Sgt. Paul Ledesma contacted Borges as soon as the crime was suspected.
"He said, 'Randy, I think we've got a suspect fitting the description — the homeowner saw him.' So I came flying up and put together a photo lineup, and the owner picked him (Galapon) right out."
Galapon remained under arrest last night.
Reach Will Hoover at firstname.lastname@example.org.