Theft victim finds stolen items being sold online, police make arrest

Local News

Thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and tools were stolen from a Kapolei construction site Sunday evening. 

One of the victims saw his tools being sold on Craigslist. 

Joseph Alzona said he knew it was his stuff because his name was on some of the items— so he decided to try and buy his tools back from the thief. 

Alzona had been working at the Marriott Kapolei construction site for months now. But when he came to work on Monday morning, he found that someone had stolen thousands of dollars of his own tools. 

“I walk over and my cart was broken into, it had been smashed open, the door, everything, I had maybe $1,000 worth of tools maybe a little bit more inside my box and he just took it,” Alzona said.

Surveillance footage showed a man carrying items away from the construction site between 7 and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 12. 

The suspect took off with table saws, chop saws and other expensive tools. 

Alzona and others filed a police report.

Just a few days later, Alzona noticed his tools being sold online so he texted the number on the posting. 

Alzona said the suspect was texting him pictures of his own case. 

“I knew where I put my name and you can see my name smudged off,” he said.

After asking the suspect several questions, Alzona said the suspect grew suspicious and ignored him. 

The following day though, Alzona noticed another one of his tools posted. This time he had his wife respond to the posting. 

“I told my wife to e-mail him and try and get his number and it was the same number I was texting for the Dewalt laser, so we told the guy we’ll meet you 4 p.m. at Kapolei Walmart,” Alzona said.

Alzona told detectives the plan so they met him at the Walmart on Friday, May 17, at 4 p.m. 

Alzona said he and a friend approached the suspect.

Alzona confirmed that it was his saw because you could still see his name ‘Joey Alzona’ on the case.

Police then arrested 48-year-old Dale Mercado for Burglary in the second degree.  

A local construction industry consultant says construction site theft it’s an all too common problem and it has a negative impact on the industry. 

“It slows down production, increases costs and in an environment like Hawaii where we have small margins, to begin with, it can be really damaging for the contractor,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam.

“If a particular piece of equipment can’t be used because it’s stolen, those other employees who would be using it may not be able to work that day so there’s definitely a ripple effect.”>

Alzona wasn’t able to get all his items back. 

The suspect was later released pending investigation.

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