Man arrested in Prada theft
By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Peter Boylan
Police yesterday arrested a Honolulu man with 30 criminal convictions in connection with the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Prada merchandise from a Kaka'ako warehouse in December.
Tracey F.W. Coryell Sr., 40, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary after he told police that he and two others stole Prada merchandise from the upscale clothier's Kaka'ako warehouse Dec. 26, police said.
None of the merchandise has been recovered, police said.
Police said the stolen items have a retail value of $300,000 and a wholesale value of $95,000. They were initially thought to have a retail value of $1 million and wholesale value of about $650,000, but police revised the amounts after reviewing company records.
Police are checking with local shipping companies to see if anyone has tried to move a large quantity of Prada goods. Police are also looking into whether the Prada case is related to more than a dozen other recent burglaries of Honolulu businesses.
In an interview following his arrest, Coryell allegedly admitted to the Prada theft and implicated another man and woman, police said.
Police did arrest a man and a woman identified by Coryell on unrelated warrants but were unable to develop evidence linking them to the Prada heist, police said. Despite Coryell's alleged confession, detectives needed to gather evidence to substantiate his story, police said. The case is still under investigation.
Coryell has not yet been charged in the Prada case. He was arrested at O'ahu Community Correctional Center, where he was being held on an unrelated charge.
Based on the value of the stolen Prada goods, Coryell could face a first-degree theft charge, police said.
He has 30 criminal convictions, including two each for burglary and felony theft. He had been out on five years' probation after he was convicted of car theft in February 2005.
Coryell was arrested on an unrelated warrant shortly after the Prada burglary and released Jan. 9.
Officers suspected Coryell had something to do with the Prada case but did not have enough evidence to arrest him for it at the time, police said.
Upon his release on Jan. 9, Coryell allegedly went straight to the white van that police believe was used in the Prada heist. Undercover police officers with the District 1 Crime Reduction Unit observed Coryell getting into the van and arrested him on suspicion of auto theft, police said.
Witnesses in the vicinity of the Prada warehouse, located in the 400 block of Ko'ula Street, had reported seeing two men and a woman driving a white Ford van in the area around the time of the burglary.
The van was seen parked in front of the warehouse while the suspects loitered, police said.
The theft was discovered by store employees early on the morning after Christmas as they prepared to move merchandise to department stores in anticipation of after-Christmas sales.
The thieves made off with shoes, wallets, ready-to-wear clothes and other items after disabling the building's alarm system by cutting the cables and misdirecting the surveillance cameras, police said.
The thieves pried open the front door, pulled up a security screen, backed a large vehicle into a loading bay and carried out the merchandise.
Police believe the Prada theft may be part of a series of 19 burglaries and are continuing to investigate.
Hawaiian Isle Vendors' office and warehouse, several jewelry stores, supermarkets and other small businesses, all of which use alarm systems set up by local companies, have been burglarized since October, police said.
In each case, the businesses' alarm systems were neutralized, most often by cutting wires. Police are reviewing who set up the security systems in the burglarized stores and how the job was done.
The alarm systems were provided by a number of different companies.
Before the Prada heist, the costliest take in the 19 burglaries was merchandise and cash valued at about $20,000, police said. Among the businesses burglarized are Schwartz Jewelers on Bethel Street, Flex-A-Kid Furniture on Kapi'olani Boulevard and Umeke Market on Kalaniana'ole Highway.
Reach Peter Boylan at firstname.lastname@example.org.