7-08-24 Hawai’i Island Police Arrest And Charge Hilo Man for Property and Drug Crimes

Hawai’i Police Department
Criminal Investigation Section-Area I
Lieutenant Zachary Fernando
Phone: (808) 961-2252
Report No.: 24-061064

Media Release

On Thursday, July 4, 2024, at approximately 3:35 p.m., Hilo patrol officers responded to the parking lot of a hotel on Banyan Drive, in Hilo, for a reported active vehicle break-in.

Responding officers contacted the owner of the vehicle who reported that his vehicle’s driver side window and door handle had been damaged. The victim further related that the interior was ransacked, however, nothing appeared to have been stolen. A witness to the incident described the suspect as a local Hawaiian male who was bareback, barefoot, and was wearing black-colored shorts. The suspect left the area on foot in an unknown direction.

Later, at approximately 4:59 p.m., Hilo patrol officers again responded to the hotel parking lot on Banyan Drive for a report of a suspicious male party loitering on property.

Responding officers contacted a hotel security officer who reported observing a suspicious male party within the hotel parking lot, who was walking around checking vehicle door handles to see if they were unlocked. The security officer then observed the male party to open the front passenger door of a parked, unoccupied, and unlocked pickup truck, and sit down on the front passenger seat. The male party then began searching inside the cab of the truck. 

The security officer approached the male party, and asked him to leave the area and that police will be called to report his actions. The male party exited the vehicle, and fled the area on foot toward the shoreline behind the hotel pool area. 

The owner of the pick-up truck was later contacted and informed officers that his vehicle was entered without permission and that at least one item was missing from within.

Officers canvassed the area for the male party who was located at the shoreline behind of the hotel a short time later. The male party was positively identified as the person who was observed to have entered both pick-up trucks. He was identified as 31-year-old Makua Amituanai, of Hilo, and was arrested without incident, for two counts of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. Amituanai was transported to HPD’s East Hawaii Detention Facility for booking, processing, and continued investigation by detectives.

During the course of the investigation, officers were able to identify a backpack which was in the possession of Amituanai during his arrest, which was removed from a parked vehicle located in a parking lot located on Keawe Street, in Hilo, that occurred on Wednesday, July 3, at 11:11 p.m. A search warrant was served on the backpack resulting in the recovery of the victim’s laptop and personal property, to include several forms of identification.

On July 6, 2024, upon conferral with the County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Amituanai was charged with the following offenses:

  • First-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle (three counts)
  • Habitual property crime (three counts)
  • Second-degree theft
  • Third-degree criminal property damage
  • Unauthorized possession of personal confidential information
  • Third-degree promoting a dangerous drug

Total bail for Amituanai was set at $183,000.

Unable to post bail, Amituanai made his initial court appearance on July 8, 2024, in South Hilo District Court.

Police ask anyone who may have information relative to this investigation to call the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311, or Detective Jeremy Kubojiri of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at (808) 961-2378, or email at jeremy.kubojiri@hawaiicounty.gov.

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