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Thursday, March 10, 2005



Car theft suspect flees
after slow-speed pursuit

Big Island police are more cautious
since a fatal chase in 2000

KAILUA-KONA » Big Island police conducted a six-hour, slow-speed pursuit of car theft suspects through West Hawaii on Tuesday, capturing three, although a fourth escaped.

Police are still seeking Blane Apostadiro, 27, of Waikoloa, a suspect in several burglaries and thefts, they said.

The pursuit was noteworthy for its cautious nature, taking place the same day that a Hilo jury found the county negligent in a lawsuit resulting from a high-speed police chase in 2000.

The jury verdict requires Hawaii County to pay $1.9 million to survivors of a woman killed in the crash that resulted.

Capt. Robert Hickcox said the department has renewed training in the rules of pursuit as a result of the accident in 2000 and other incidents.

At about 2 p.m. Tuesday, officers spotted a possibly stolen vehicle near Kailua-Kona. They followed as it headed north on Queen Kaahumanu Highway, then sped up briefly when it refused to stop and turned uphill toward Waikoloa village, Hickcox said.

Nearing the village, pursuing officers pulled back and called for help at the top of the Waikoloa road.

The suspect vehicle again eluded them and headed back toward Kona on Mamalahoa Highway. Officers were ordered to pull back, and a rented helicopter was sent to look for the vehicle, Hickcox said.

Police finally found the car at Puuanahulu and arrested two women, but two men in the car escaped. One was arrested later based on a tip, but Apostadiro is still at large, Hickcox said. None of the three in custody had been charged by late yesterday.

Apostadiro is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, 170 pounds, with brown eyes and closely cropped brown hair. He could be armed and dangerous, police said.

Anyone with information on him should call police at 935-3311 or CrimeStoppers at 329-8181.



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