Sunday, April 6, 2003

Halawa escapees still loose

Hauula residents notice an
increase in police presence as
officers search for three felons

The fugitives

By Craig Gima

Three dangerous escapees from the high-security facility at Halawa prison remained at large last night despite the efforts of a law enforcement task force to bring them back behind bars.

Police expanded the search area beyond Halawa, parts of Pearl City and Windward Oahu and followed up on tips phoned in by the public, but would not say much more about the progress of the manhunt.

More than 100 law enforcement officers were trying to track down Albert Batalona, 27, Warren Elicker, 25, and David Scribner, 20, who apparently broke out of the high-security facility early Friday morning. They were discovered missing during a 4 a.m. head count.

Nervous residents in Hauula are taking extra precautions after a car believed to have been stolen by the escapees was found Friday morning.

"It's scary," said Chol Cha Kim, who works at a local restaurant. "I'm worried about it."

"It scares everyone," said Rick Wu. "Everyone's saying you got to lock doors now."

Wu said he has a big dog in his yard and he used to feel safe occasionally leaving the door unlocked. Since Friday, Wu said he's noticed an increased police presence in Hauula.

"I see them go back and forth (on Kamehameha Highway)," he said. "You can see more cops around now than before."

All three men have violent criminal records. Batalona was serving a life term without parole for a shootout with police during a 1999 Kahala bank robbery. At that time, he eluded a police manhunt for eight days until his capture in the parking lot of a restaurant and bar near the Pearlridge Shopping Center in Aiea.

Elicker was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a home invasion robbery in Punaluu and a carjacking at the Ala Moana Center. When police spotted Elicker on April 5, 2001, he tried to flee by jumping into the ocean in Kahaluu and canoe paddlers helped capture him.

Scribner tried to escape from Oahu Community Correctional Facility in May of last year by assaulting the driver of a state van. He and another inmate tried unsuccessfully to drive the van through the fences surrounding the prison. Scribner was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the escape attempt and has other robbery and drug convictions.

An internal investigation is underway to determine exactly how the three prisoners escaped. It's the first successful escape from the high-security facility, warden Nolan Espinda said Friday.


The 3 fugitives


David Scribner

Sentenced to 10 years for robbery and escape in October 2002. Has seven felony convictions for escape, promoting dangerous drugs and robbery.

>> Age: 20
>> Height: 5 feet, 7 inches
>> Weight: 170 pounds
>> Of note: Tattoo of Asian character on right shoulder.


Albert R. Batalona

Sentenced to life without parole for the armed robbery of the American Savings Bank in Kahala in July 1999.

>> Age: 27
>> Height: 5 feet, 9 inches
>> Weight: 195 pounds
>> Of note: Multiple tattoos including bird on right forearm, man's face on right upper arm, spider web on right elbow, and woman on left forearm.


Warren Elicker

Sentenced to 20 years in prison for armed robbery in November 2001. Has 13 felony convictions for armed robbery, kidnapping, burglary and auto theft.

>> Age: 25
>> Height: 5 feet, 8 inches
>> Weight: 175 pounds
>> Of note: Multiple tattoos including Old English letters on neck, Rockafella Boy on upper left arm, nature scenes and letters K and B on right upper arm, Hawaiian Islands map on chest, and KALIHI written on left calf.

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