Al­leged bus thief makes ini­tial court ap­pear­ance

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NEWS - By JOHN BUR­NETT Email John Bur­nett at jbur­nett@hawai­itri­

A 21-year-old Hilo man ac­cused of steal­ing two county buses from the Mass Tran­sit base­yard in Hilo made his ini­tial ap­pear­ance Wed­nes­day on charges re­lated to the theft of the sec­ond bus.

Hilo District Judge Peter Bres­ciani or­dered Kawelo Naka­mura to ap­pear at 2 p.m. to­day for a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing.

Naka­mura is charged with first-de­gree theft, reck­less en­dan­ger­ing, reck­less driv­ing, driv­ing a stolen ve­hi­cle, driv­ing a bus with­out a com­mer­cial driver’s li­cense, prop­erty dam­age and two counts of inat­ten­tion to driv­ing in con­nec­tion with the al­leged theft of the 42-pas­sen­ger Hele-On bus from the East Lanikaula Street fa­cil­ity.

He was on su­per­vised re­lease for al­legedly steal­ing the first bus, which was taken Aug. 5, and sideswip­ing a car on Rail­road Av­enue near Home De­pot in Hilo be­fore later be­ing pulled over by po­lice on High­way 130 near Pa­hoa.

Deputy Pub­lic De­fender Austin Hsu called Naka­mura’s bail “ab­nor­mally high” and asked the judge to grant Naka­mura su­per­vised re­lease on the new set of charges or to re­duce Naka­mura’s $42,000 bail.

Bres­ciani replied that a re­port in­di­cates Naka­mura is be­ing de­tained on other charges.

“What’s the story on that?” the judge asked Hsu.

“I’m not 100 per­cent sure … ,” Hsu replied.

“Given the se­ri­ous­ness of the charges, I’m re­luc­tant to re­lease him on su­per­vised re­lease or … on bail with­out a bail study … ,” Bres­ciani replied. “I’m dis­in­clined to make that de­ci­sion in a vac­uum.”

Naka­mura was in­dicted on Aug. 24 on charges re­lat­ing to the first bus theft, and Act­ing Hilo Cir­cuit Judge Harry Fre­itas on Tues­day sched­uled trial for Jan. 8, 2018, and set bail at $18,000 on those charges, mak­ing Naka­mura’s to­tal bail $60,000.

Naka­mura, who had vis­i­ble bruis­ing un­der his right eye and an abra­sion to the right side of his neck, said noth­ing dur­ing the brief hear­ing, but after he was led by sher­iff’s deputies to the court­room cell­block, he could be heard yelling, “Whoo, brud­dahs! Yes!”

He re­mains in cus­tody in lieu of bail.

JOHN BUR­NETT/ Tri­buneHer­ald

Kawelo Naka­mura, left, ap­pears Wed­nes­day in Hilo District Court.

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