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Police charge bank heist suspect with robbery 07-31-03

PHONE: 961-2384
JULY 31, 2003


Police charged a 25-year-old man Thursday (July 31, 2003) in the bank robbery earlier this week in which the suspect was chased down and captured by a bank employee, a bank customer and passing motorists.

At 8:55 a.m., Hilo Criminal Investigation Section detectives charged Barry Brenton Powers, 25, of no permanent address, with second-degree robbery. Powers is being held in the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $25,000 bail and is due for arraignment on Friday.

Responding to a 9:30 a.m. call Tuesday (July 29, 2003), South Hilo patrol officers determined that a masked male suspect entered the Waiakea branch of the Bank of Hawaii on East Kawili Street.

Wearing a kerchief over the lower part of his face, the suspect approached a bank teller, pretended to have a handgun in his jacket pocket and demanded money. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the robber fled the scene on foot.

A female bank employee and a male customer gave chase as the suspect ran toward Banyan Drive on Kanoelehua Avenue.

While chasing the suspect, a passing motorist stopped and picked up the pursuing bank customer, and the two continued the pursuit in the car.

The suspect then ran across Kanoelehua Avenue and continued running toward the rubbish dump on Leilani Street. As they approached the suspect, the bank customer jumped out of the car and tackled the suspect. With the help of another passing motorist who stopped to help, he managed to restrain the suspect until a nearby off-duty police officer arrived to handcuff the suspect. Police then recovered an undisclosed amount of cash and arrested the suspect.

Meanwhile, Hilo CIS detectives are following up leads in a robbery of the same bank branch and an attempted robbery of another Hilo bank, both of which occurred last month.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, June 24, 2003, a masked man wearing a hat, a long-sleeved shirt and dark-colored pants entered the Waiakea branch, brandished a machete and approached a teller. He then climbed over the counter, opened a cash drawer and grabbed money from the drawer. He then approached a second teller, opened a second cash drawer and grabbed more cash.

The suspect then left the bank and was last seen fleeing on a bicycle west on Lanikaula Street with an undetermined amount of cash.

On the previous Tuesday, an attempted robbery occurred at the Home Street Bank in Hilo.

In that robbery attempt, a lone male walked into the bank shortly after 1 p.m. wearing a cloth over his head, a respirator covering his nose and mouth, dark-colored pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

The suspect brandished a knife and demanded money several times from the tellers. When the tellers ignored him, he climbed over the counter and tried to open locked drawers. Unable to obtain any money, the suspect climbed back over the counter and into the lobby area, where he again demanded money. When he failed to obtain any money, he threw his knife down and ran out of the bank.

The suspect was last seen riding a dark-colored bicycle toward Kilauea Avenue and traveling in the Puna direction.

Anyone with information about the robberies or attempted robbery is asked to call Detective Greg Esteban of the Hilo CIS at 961-2384 or the police non-emergency number at 935-3311.

Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept strictly confidential.

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