Brazen criminals are targeting island shops, what prosecutors are doing to stop them

Local News

HONOLULU(KHON2)–Recent surveillance footage shows brazen criminals waltzing right into stores and robbing them. If video cameras and other security measures aren’t stopping them, what will? One attorney said prosecutors need to charge even the smallest crimes, the acting Honolulu prosecutor said they are working on flagging repeat offenders to keep them off the streets.

Wednesday, a robber forcibly scuffles with the owner of Mary’s Barber Shop before running out with the money from her cash drawer.

According to sources, at 5A.M. Friday, a male suspect tried to steal the cash register at 7-11 in Maili. He got into a tussle with an employee then dropped the register, before running out.

January 12, an armed suspect held-up the 7-11 in Moanalua.

These are just three examples of criminals robbing convenience stores or mom and pop shops. But there are many more cases.

Why are thieves targeting these types of shop?

According to candidate for Honolulu Prosecutor Megan Kau, criminals are much less likely to rob a bank.

“Banks have security cameras, security guards, it’s a federal offense. Criminals know the difference between state and federal crimes,” Kau explained.

Many of the stores being robbed have video surveillance and the suspects are caught on camera.

Kau said criminals aren’t afraid of being caught on camera because they don’t think they’ll get charged with a crime.

“The prosecutor’s office has to get on board and charge every single crime so that the criminals out there know we’re not putting up with it anymore…criminals need to know the law is being enforced,” Kau said.

Acting Honolulu prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto said they are working with the Honolulu Police Department on what they call ‘intelligence based prosecution.’

“If (HPD) has an idea of specific types of people or individuals causing these crimes, they will let us know and we will concentrate on them,” Nadamoto said.

Nadamoto explained that specific prosecutors would be assigned to keep track of suspects or criminals flagged by HPD. If the suspect is released on bail for one crime and commits another offense, the prosecutor will be notified and can request the judge deny bail or increase the bail so the suspect stays behind bars, preventing them from committing more crimes.

Nadamoto said that if the victim of the crime is an elder person, anyone older than 60 years old, prosecutors will also ask for enhanced sentencing.

“If it’s a five year penalty, it becomes 10. If it’s a 10 year penalty, it becomes 20.”

For first time offenders or criminals with drug dependency issues, Kau said she wants is in favor of creating more facilities that offer treatment and rehabilitation programs.

“These young kids, 24, 25, 26, they get involved in minor criminal stuff–stealing cars, burglaries without injuries, theft–and they don’t get into trouble, so they keep graduating (to more serious crimes). Had they been arrested the first time and put through treatment or put in a residential place where they were safe and they couldn’t commit another crime, they would not have committed the subsequent crime…Treatment is always the better answer. The problem with that is, some people are not wiling to do treatment. If they’re not willing to do treatment, they got to go to Halawa,” Kau explained.

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