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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 9, 2006

Police arrest 3 teens in Halawa in spree of Honda vehicle thefts

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Central O'ahu Writer

Pearl City Crime Reduction Unit police officers overcame a broadside hit to their unmarked van and an uncooperative parent yesterday to arrest three juveniles whom police say have been targeting Hondas in one of the district's auto-theft hot spots.

Two 16-year-old boys and a 17-year-old boy who is a runaway from the Big Island were arrested at 10:30 a.m. at a Kalaloa Street home.

The younger boys were wanted on four auto-theft charges dating back to last November. One of them was among three teens charged last December with stealing cars but was released by Family Court.

According to monthly police statistics presented to the 'Aiea Neighborhood Board, auto theft and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle combined ranked as the No. 1 crime from October through December 2005 in the five patrol beats from 'Aiea to Pearlridge. There were 108 reported auto thefts and 157 unlawful entry cases during the three-month period.

Detective Thomas Santos, a police auto-theft investigator, said the 16-year-olds arrested yesterday are part of a larger group targeting Hondas. "They've been very active so we should see a significant decline in the 'Aiea area," said Santos, who noted that police have information linking the boys to 25 other auto thefts in addition to the four they are charged with.

The arrests yesterday were anything but routine.

It began about 9:30 a.m. when Crime Reduction Unit officers spotted the 17-year-old boy in Halawa approaching a parked silver Honda, which was determined later to be stolen. As officers moved in, the boy allegedly sped off in the car, sideswiping the unmarked police van, Sgt. Doug Iwamasa said.

Due to heavy traffic, police did not give chase but tried to follow the car, which was headed westbound on Moanalua Road.

Police got to within 20 cars of the Honda but gave up the pursuit when the suspect began driving in and out of traffic. Police spotted the car again but backed off for public safety reasons.

The CRU officers went back to Halawa to arrest the two 16-year-olds at 10:30 a.m. Iwamasa said the mother of one of the boys was uncooperative and was trying to hide the boys in a closet.

The 17-year-old, who was staying with the two younger boys, was arrested a short time later in the lobby of the same apartment building after police received a tip from a resident.

All three boys are high school dropouts.

"Kids like these are unsupervised by their parents, do not attend school and are out there committing crime," Iwamasa said. "They go through the court system, get out and just do it again. For me, personally, I think the state should have stiffer penalties or at least send these kids to some kind of program. The court should mandate some kind of alternate education for them.

"I think if parents were held responsible for monetary damages for the crimes their kids commit, it might make a bigger difference," Iwamasa added. "It seems like they're condoning what the kids are doing."

Reach Rod Ohira at rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com.