Two more suspects charged in Hilo robbery 08-03-05

PHONE: 961-2252
AUGUST 3, 2005

Photo of Dustin Charles Howell Photo of Stephen J. Whitney
ROBBERY SUSPECTS-Dustin Charles Howell, 21, left, of Puna, has been arrested and charged with second-degree robbery and misdemeanor theft as the result of a July 25, 2005, robbery at Rainbow Falls in Hilo. Three other suspects have been charged in the robbery, and police are looking for Stephen J. Whitney, right, on an outstanding warrant and for questioning in the robbery.


Police have arrested and charged two more young males with a variety of felony offenses stemming from a robbery that occurred July 25, 2005, at Rainbow Falls in Hilo.

The arrests bring to four the number of suspects charged in the robbery, and police are looking for a fifth suspect.

Dustin Charles Howell, 21, of a Paradise Park address in Puna, was charged with felony second-degree robbery and misdemeanor theft. He is being held on $55,000 bail.

A 17-year-old male juvenile was arrested and charged on July 29 with two counts of felony robbery and two counts of felony theft. He is being held at the Secure Detention Home on Oahu.

Previously, Spenser Jordan Feary, 18, of Hilo, and another 17-year-old male were arrested for their alleged roles in the robbery. Feary was charged with four counts of felony second-degree robbery, two counts of felony theft and three traffic offenses. He is being held in lieu of a total bail of $54,750. The juvenile has been charged with four counts of felony second-degree robbery and is being held at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility on Oahu.

Police are still looking for Stephen J. Whitney, 18, of a Keaukaha address in South Hilo, on an outstanding warrant for contempt of court and for questioning in the robbery.

Anyone with information about Whitney’s whereabouts is asked to call Detective Lucille Melemai of the East Hawaii Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2377 or the police non-emergency number at 935-3311.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept strictly confidential.

East Hawaii CIS detectives credited the quick arrests on cooperative efforts by the South Hilo and Puna patrol officers, on involvement by community members and on the willingness of witnesses of the robbery to come forward.

The robbery occurred shortly before 6 p.m. at Rainbow Falls when an Arizona couple was accosted by a group of male suspects. The first suspect punched the 31-year-old victim; a second suspect then kicked the victim in the face, while the first suspect stole his camera. The victim’s 33-year-old female companion had her purse ripped from her by a third suspect.

During the robbery, a family from California was videotaping the scenery at the falls and videotaped some footage of the incident. Two of the suspects observed the 52-year-old male visitor with the video camera, ran up to him, punched and kicked him in his face and stole his video camera. His 45-year-old wife was verbally threatened by a second suspect and surrendered her camera to that suspect.

The suspects were seen running in the westerly direction from the falls parking lot. A witness observed a light blue foreign model hatchback leaving the immediate area and obtained a license plate, which was called in to the police emergency 911 system and broadcast to responding police units.

A patrol officer observed the vehicle in the downtown Hilo area and attempted to stop the vehicle. The light blue Honda headed towards Keaukaha. Traffic Enforcement Unit officers assisted in the pursuit. The Honda vehicle was stopped at the end of Kauhane Avenue, at which time three occupants fled in the area of the Hilo International Airport airstrip.

Feary and a 17-year-old male suspect were arrested by police.

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