Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Sunday, December 16, 2001

Maui Lakers fan gets probation

WAILUKU >> A judge sentenced a Maui man to five years probation for stealing a portrait of basketball star Kobe Bryant from a Lahaina art gallery.

Paea Paongo of Honokawai, 24, was charged with breaking the window of Gallerie Hawaii on July 6 and stealing the painting of the Los Angeles Lakers player.

At Thursday's sentencing, Second Circuit Court Judge Joseph Cardoza noted that Paongo had cooperated with police, had a good record and had already spent 13 days in jail for his crime.

Paongo pleaded no contest to charges of second-degree burglary, second-degree theft and fourth-degree criminal property damage.

Prosecutors said the painting was worth $20,000.

Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Jenkins said Paongo had been drinking with a friend before driving to the gallery in the early morning hours and stealing the painting.

Paongo told police he wanted the painting because "he loves basketball and loves the Lakers."

Corrections and clarifications

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Managing Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers


Solvent smell sickens at least 14 Denny's diners

Honolulu firefighters evacuated the Denny's restaurant in Pearlridge yesterday at 10:55 a.m. after customers said they were getting sick from a "strong solvent" smell.

Emergency crews treated 12 people at the scene, and six were later transported to area hospitals.

Fire officials said two pregnant women had earlier transported themselves to the hospital.

The affected customers were not admitted to the hospital.

Firefighters traced the smell to a restaurant undergoing renovations next door to Denny's where workers were using a combination of lacquer thinner and oven cleaner.

Fire officials said they stopped the workers from cleaning and ventilated both the renovated restaurant and Denny's.

Denny's reopened later in the afternoon.


Alcohol a possible factor in fatal Big Isle car crash

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the death of a 19-year-old Kau man whose car ran off Route 11 in the Punaluu area Friday night, Big Island police reported.

Mitchell M. Medeiros of Pahala was driving west when he ran off the right side of the road. His 1997 Dodge Neon struck an embankment and overturned, throwing him from the car, police said.

Police received a call at 8:15 p.m. and Medeiros was transported by Fire Rescue personnel to Kau Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:41 p.m.

Medeiros was not wearing a seat belt, police said. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

This is the 29th traffic fatality on the Big Island this year, compared to 37 at the same time last year.

Hiker rescued 2 days after suffering hip injury

A Big Island hiker had to spend two nights outdoors in the Pololu Valley in North Kohala after falling about 30 feet and suffering a hip injury that left him unable to walk.

The accident happened Thursday, fire officials said. The man was unfamiliar with the terrain, which was wet and muddy, they said.

Rescue personnel found the man after he was reported missing Friday morning. He was given first aid, and a stretcher was used to pull him up a 200-foot cliff.

However, darkness forced the man and two rescue personnel to spend Friday night at a temporary landing zone.

The three were airlifted out of the area by helicopter yesterday morning. The man was taken to Kohala Hospital in stable condition.

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