Good Samaritans come to tourist’s aid after purse snatching

Local News

Another crime has been committed against a Japanese tourist in Kailua. This one was captured on surveillance video.

Police say it happened Wednesday, Oct. 21, just before 3 p.m.

A Japanese tourist and her friend were riding their rented bikes through Lanikai when the suspect grabbed one of the women’s purses from her basket.

In surveillance video provided by My Kailua, the suspect is chased by the victim and appears to be cornered by a van before dropping the purse.

The suspect is confronted by two Good Samaritans who gave chase.

Witnesses say they held the suspect until police arrived.

Tarek GoPaul, 45, was arrested and charged for theft.

Police say this is the third crime targeting visitors in the Kailua area in the last month.

KHON2 reached out to Christopher Kojima, co-owner of Kailua Ocean Adventures, where the tourists rented bicycles.

“I told all my employees to make sure customers know what happened, to be vigilant, to be aware of your surroundings,” explained Kojima.

Kojima was referring to a separate incident that happened on Oct. 15.

A man riding one of Kojima’s rented bikes near Lanikai had his stuff stolen.

Police say that victim was dragged by a car trying to get his stuff back.

“Oh my God, that is my bike, one of my bikes,” said Kojima, after looking at photos of the latest robbery.

Kojima says the recent rash of crime is giving Kailua a bad name.

“This is a problem. It’s a huge problem. If we let this go, people will stop coming to our town. They’re going to stop coming to our state. It’s lame,” he said.

Kojima says he tells his customers, mostly Japanese tourists, to call police if theft happens.

“A lot of our guests don’t have cell phones. They don’t have credit cards, and a lot of these tourists, they carry cash. They’re easy targets for criminals to come and rob them,” he said.

Kojima adds that police have bulked up presence in the last week.

“Today when I was there, there was a cop at the boat ramp, cop at beach park and cop in Lanikai circling,” he said.

Jessica Lani Rich with the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii says they are assisting Wednesday’s victim.

Rich explains the majority of visitors who fall victim to crimes do not file charges against the suspects, because they do not want to relive the incident.

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