Police have charged two men in connection with armed robberies that took place on Shipman Beach Trail. In the first robbery, on June 20, a man and woman told police they were confronted by a man wielding a large stick. According to police, the assailant struck the man in the face and the woman to her head and arm, took their belongings and fled.
The victims were able to call police and were met on the trail by responding officers. Both were taken by ambulance to Hilo Medical Center emergency room, where they were treated and released.
The second robbery occurred July 14 shortly 3 p.m. Two women in their early 20’s reported hey were walking out Shipman Beach when they were contacted by a man who asked to use their phone. After using the phone, the suspect returned it and continued walking ahead of the two women.
A short distance ahead on the trail, the same man allegedly jumped out from the bushes, pepper sprayed one of the women in the face and pushed her down, physically overpowered the other woman and forcefully took her backpack. The contents of the backpack included a bank card, cellphone, and the keys for their car, which was stolen from the trailhead parking lot. Both women received minor injuries.
Officers conducted a traffic stop on the stolen vehicle on Thursday in Hawaiian Paradise Park.
The vehicle was being driven by 29-year-old Devin Saragosa-Taoy of Keaau, who was arrested and charged with auto theft and habitual property crime. His bail was set at $20,000.
Police say Travis DeMello-Oda was the robber in both incidents. He was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery during a declared emergency, three counts of third-degree assault, second-degree theft, third-degree theft, two counts auto theft, plus unauthorized possession of personal confidential information. His bail was set at $30,000.
On Saturday morning, July 24, after conferring with county prosecutors, detectives charged Saragosa-Taoy with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and as a habitual property crime offender. His bail is set at $20,000.
Both remain in police custody pending their initial court appearances scheduled for Monday afternoon in Hilo District Court.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald