A Waimanalo man allegedly steals a car- with a boy inside. It happened at 11:25 a.m. in Lanikai, and ended in Kaneohe right after noon. Island News was on the scene when cops nabbed the suspect.
There's an ex-con in the back of the cop car at the driveway of Kaneohe Elementary School, and police arrested him Thursday for another accused set of crimes that include kidnapping.
The drama starts at Lanikai Point at 11:25 Thursday morning. Honolulu Police say two Korean tourists left their rental car for a few minutes.
HPD Deputy Chief John McCarthy says, "They left the child in the car with the air conditioning running." Police say the tourists' nine-year-old son was sleeping in the back seat.
Witnesses told police "they saw the tourists exit the vehicle, then saw someone jump in the vehicle and drive away. So they knew it was a crime."
The bystanders alerted the parents and police. The suspect, meantime, dropped the boy off at a Kailua store.
Deputy Chief McCarthy continues, "The child left in the car was recovered at a store nearby, unharmed and safe. The child was recovered in minutes. It was really fast. We wouldn't have been able to put the Maile Alert out in time."
Police say they had officers stationed around the Windward side who saw the suspect speed into Kaneohe. "The car exited H-3 freeway along Kamehameha Hwy. near Hawaiian Memorial Park and proceeded north. At the intersection of Mokulele Drive, it struck a vehicle stopped at a red light," details Deputy Chief McCarthy.
Police say the driver of the other car is a 72-year-old man who suffered minor injuries. Emergency Medical Services treated him at the scene.
Deputy Chief McCarthy adds, "The driver took the property from the vehicle and tried to flee on foot. He was apprehended nearby by the police units in pursuit." McCarthy clarifies the suspect took a bag from the car.
At Kaneohe Elementary, police arrested a 35-year-old Waimanalo man with a history of felonies that include drugs, theft, auto theft, and auto break ins. That list could get longer.
"He's arrested for theft in the second degree for taking property from the car, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle for stealing the car, kidnapping because the child was in the car, negligent injury for the accident causing injury to the other driver, and two outstanding contempt warrants," Deputy Chief McCarthy outlines.
Jenn Heya is a parent whose child attends Kaneohe Elementary. She arrived just after the cop cars drove off.
We asked her if she was shocked after learning what happened. "Yes, definitely! I'm scared for my kids," she says.
The school went on a "brief and partial lockdown" according to the state Department of Education. It won't comment further on a police matter, but says, "A parent letter will be distributed [Friday] ... For more information regarding emergency protocols and procedures, please visit our website here: http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/BeyondTheClassroom/SafeSchools/Emergencies/Pages/home.aspx."
Did the suspect know the boy was inside when he allegedly took the car? Deputy Chief McCarthy says that's what cops think. "He dropped off the child in Kailua and the crash took place in Kaneohe, so he had to have known. That's why one of the offenses he's arrested for is kidnapping."
In Hawaii, it is a $237 fine to leave a child alone in a motor vehicle. Police say they will not fine the parents in this case, but remind other parents to never leave your child alone in a car, even for a few minutes.