Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Suspect confesses
to HPD over Kahe
Point carjacking


Wednesday, February 2, 2005

» A tour van with an adult male tourist and three females, ages 10 and under, still inside, was stolen from a Kahe Point parking lot on Jan. 18. A story on Page A3 in yesterday's early edition incorrectly said the van was stolen on Jan. 20.

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

A man suspected of carjacking a tour van at Kahe Point last month confessed to police after detectives found a tourist's towel from the robbery in his car while investigating an unrelated case, police said.

Ricky Kainoa Kenui, 35, was arrested on Jan. 22 for allegedly breaking into a Nissan pickup truck in the parking lot of Wendy's restaurant in Wahiawa.

When police arrived, an officer noted that Kenui had the truck's stereo in his hand and had put it in his own vehicle, identified as a blue Mercury sedan that was parked next to the truck.

Kenui was arrested for investigation of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. After searching his car, police found a towel that was traced back to the Jan. 20 carjacking that involved a Dolphin Excursions tour van.

On that morning, a male had jumped into the tour van and driven off with an adult male tourist and three girls, all 10 and younger, while the rest of the tour group had gotten out to look for dolphins.

The tourists were eventually let out a short distance later, and police found the van abandoned nearby minus almost all the tourists' belongings. Since his arrest in the Wahiawa case, Kenui has confessed to being the driver who took the van at Kahe Point, held its passengers against their will and threatened the adult male passenger at knifepoint with what was described as a "Leatherman-type knife," according to police.

Based on tips, police initially located Kenui at a Wahiawa home on Jan. 20 and asked him if he knew why they were looking for him. Kenui allegedly said, "Yeah, the Waianae stuff, the thing with the tourists and the van."

Kenui agreed to be interviewed at the Wahiawa Police Station where he first admitted to taking the van at Kahe Point, then later denied it. Because police had insufficient evidence at the time, they could not arrest him.

Meanwhile, a witness came forward and told police that a man she knew as "Ricky" had approached her saying he was involved in the Kahe Point robbery and asked if she could cash some personal checks. The woman declined but noticed that the checks appeared to be mainland checks. She identified Kenui in a photo to police.

Two days after his arrest in the Wendy's car break-in, police obtained a warrant to search Kenui's car and found the towel. Two other witnesses also identified Kenui's blue car as the one seen following the tour van stolen from Kahe Point.

Police are also looking for another adult male in this case, a homeless man identified only by his first name, "Jacob." Police said Jacob had been driving Kenui's car on Jan. 20 and following the van while he drove, then assaulted the adult male tourist by throwing him out of the van and into bushes.

Jacob is described as in his 30s, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a muscular build, dark short hair and a tan complexion. He is known to frequent the Leeward Coast.

Kenui has since been charged with robbery and auto theft in this case and is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail. He made his first appearance in District Court yesterday afternoon and will return for a preliminary hearing tomorrow.

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