Second man charged with burglary during emergency 10-16-14

Hawaiʻi Police Department
Criminal Investigations Section, Area I
Lieutenant Gregory Esteban
Phone: 961-2252
Report No. C14023825


Media Release

A second man has been charged with a September 8 burglary under a state law that provides for enhanced sentencing for certain crimes committed during a state of emergency.

On September 8, a 35-year-old Puna man reported that he returned to his home on 34th Avenue in the Orchidland Estates subdivision and saw a man entering his house through a window and then exiting and fleeing in a van driven by another man.

On Wednesday (October 15), police arrested the suspected driver, 24-year-old Jesley Saniatan of Hilo, on the strength of a Grand Jury indictment for burglary of a dwelling during an emergency declaration. That enhances the burglary from a B felony to an A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison with no possibility of probation. His bail was set at $10,000. He was held at the Hilo police cellblock pending his court arraignment on Thursday (October 16).

The other suspect, 23-year-old Ronald Altura Jr. of Keaʻau, was arrested on September 18 and charged with the same offense.

On September 4, Mayor Billy Kenoi proclaimed a state of emergency for the Puna District under Act 111 of the 2014 Hawai‘i State Legislature. As a result, the classifications of certain crimes, including burglary, are elevated while the emergency proclamation is in effect.

For example, petty misdemeanor criminal property damage, usually punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, is elevated to a Class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

Other offenses, including theft, robbery and any assault against an emergency worker also face elevated penalties.

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