Fleeing Purse Snatcher Wrecks Car, Arrested 03-14-01

PHONE: 326-4203
MARCH 14, 2001


A motorized purse snatcher was apprehended Wednesday (March 14, 2001) in Kona after he wrecked his car while being pursued by a Hawaii Volcanoes National Park ranger.

At 10:15 a.m., Sonny Kamanawa, 20, also known as “Sonny Boy,” was arrested for second-degree robbery, theft, promoting a detrimental drug and illegal possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held pending further investigation by Kona Criminal Investigation Section detectives.

The incident started when a female visitor, 32, from Villejuif, France, was walking along Kahakai Road with a companion, also a 32-year-old female visitor from France. As the two neared the Royal Kona Resort, a car traveling in the same southerly direction passed by and the driver grabbed the woman’s purse. The car, a 1999 Chevrolet four-door sedan, then sped off.

A national park ranger driving by witnessed the theft and gave chase. While being chased along Wailua Road, the thief lost control of his car, which crashed into a rock wall and overturned.

Police officers were summoned and retrieved the victim’s stolen purse and its contents. They also found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the thief’s car.

The woman victim was knocked into her companion, and was slightly injured in the theft, but did not require medical attention. Her companion complained of back pains.

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