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Robbery, assault case moves toward trial

KEALAKEKUA — A man charged with assaulting and robbing a Buddhist minister is also accused of breaking into a truck parked at the Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Kailua-Kona and stealing items, including medical marijuana.

On Wednesday, Kyle Arellano, 22, appeared in Kona District Court for a preliminary hearing on charges of second-degree robbery of a vehicle, two counts of second-degree theft, fourth-degree theft, unauthorized control of a stolen vehicle, first-degree unauthorized entry into a vehicle, property damage, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia.

Charges stem from an incident Dec. 26 when Arellano allegedly assaulted and robbed the Rev. Masaaki Miyazaki at the Kona Koyasan Daishiji Mission in Holualoa. Arellano was caught the next day in a stolen 2007 Honda Accord that was reported taken from Honokohau Harbor.

During Wednesday’s hearing Miyazaki testified about what occurred the day he was assaulted. He told the court he was at the mission taking rubbish to his car because he planned to go to the dump. While he was on the property, he stated, he saw a “suspicious car.”

The reverend said when he approached the car, two women were inside.

“I told them this was our private property and I pointed to a sign that said ‘private property’ and asked if they’d seen it,” Miyazaki told the court with the assistance of a Japanese translator.

Miyazaki went on to explain someone hit him from behind and he fell to the ground. He was carrying a personal bag at the time of the assault.

“I was hit many times and the man asked to give him the bag,” the reverend stated.

Items inside were letters that needed to be mailed, about $400 dollars in cash and about $300 in checks.

Miyazaki testified that after the assault, he ran away from the mission and saw a shadow of the man get into the car.

Miyazaki couldn’t positively identify Arellano.

Dustin McCasland also took the stand. On Dec. 27, he testified, he went to VA Kona Community Based Outpatient Clinic on Hualalai Road for a medical appointment. While his truck was parked, a security guard informed him it was broken into.

“I noticed between the two seats my medical marijuana card was gone,” McCasland said.

The suspect took a pouch that contained the medical marijuana card, 3.5 grams of marijuana, $40, boat keys and a paraphernalia pipe, McCasland testified.

He also stated his passenger window was busted out.

The owner of the stolen Honda Accord also testified, as well as the woman who was using it the day it was stolen. Summer Richards, registered owner of the vehicle, testified she lent her vehicle to her sister, Mohala Mahi.

Mahi told the court the vehicle was parked at Reserved Limousines at the harbor on Dec. 27 with the keys inside when it was taken.

Officer Stephen Kishimoto testified he took Arellano into custody Dec. 27. He said police had been looking for the 22-year-old because he was a suspect in a robbery investigation.

Kishimoto told the court he initially located Arellano at 10:35 a.m. at the intersection of Henry Street and Queen Kaahumanu Highway driving a Honda Accord. He pursued the suspect and attempted to make a stop by initiating his lights. However, the officer testified he lost sight of Arellano on Palani Road.

Kishimoto said he later found Arellano on Hualalai Ranch Road while doing area checks.

“When I arrested him he said he was sorry he ran from police,” the officer told the court.

Police Detective Corina McLellan was the last to take the stand. She said she interviewed Arellano at the Kealakehe police station Dec. 28, where he was advised of rights.

“He shared he’d gone up to the mission with his sister and his sister’s girlfriend,” McLellan told the court. “He eventually admitted to striking the victim.”

McLellan testified she discovered other burglaries and shoplifting incidents to which Arellano might be connected.

When the hearing was finished, Deputy Public Defender Joanna Sokolow requested three of the charges be dropped, citing insufficient evidence to support the claims.

Judge Margaret Masunaga ruled against Sokolow and found probable cause on all charges to move Arellano’s case to Kona Circuit Court, where he’ll be arraigned Jan. 11.

Arellano’s bail was maintained at $49,800.

Email Tiffany DeMasters at tdemasters@westhawaiitoday.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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