Man allegedly attacks Star-Bulletin carrier
The suspect is caught after taking a van with three kids inside
A Star-Bulletin newspaper carrier was attacked and nearly had her three children kidnapped while she was delivering yesterday's morning paper.
Police said the incident took place as the 30-year-old mother was delivering papers on her route near Makaloa Street and Kalakaua Avenue. Her three daughters, ages 4, 5 and 6, were sleeping in her delivery van at about 2:25 a.m.
The woman parked her van on a grassy median along Kalakaua and ran across the street to fill a newspaper vending box when she noticed a man sitting at a nearby bus stop.
After filling the newspaper rack, the victim walked back to the van and was attacked from behind by the man, police said. The suspect allegedly punched the woman in the face and began choking her.
She broke free of the choke hold, but the suspect then ran to her van and jumped into the driver's seat. The van had the keys in the ignition. The suspect started up the van with the children still sleeping in the back. But before the suspect could take off, the woman opened the back door, got inside and began screaming for him to stop, according to police.
But he did not stop, and drove down Makaloa while the woman continued to scream at him to stop and let her and her children out of the van. When the suspect kept driving, the woman grabbed a pair of scissors and threatened to stab him if he did not stop.
Police said the suspect finally stopped near Keeaumoku and Kanunu streets, where the woman saw a security guard and yelled for help. The guard flagged down a patrol officer, and police quickly located the suspect, who had left the van and fled on foot, hiding in the bushes along South King Street.
Police arrested the suspect for investigation of second-degree robbery and three counts of kidnapping. The woman reported swelling to her face, but her children were uninjured, her supervisor said.
"She's doing pretty well, but now that all the excitement has died down, she's in some pain," said Lance Yakabe, single-copy city manager for the Star-Bulletin. "What she did, though ... she's pretty tough."
Yakabe said the woman is an independent contractor like the other 14 urban newspaper distributors who deliver the paper from Kahala to Aloha Stadium and usually starts at 1 a.m. to get the Star-Bulletin out on the streets. He said that while many of them encounter bad elements at that time of the early morning, it is usually not this severe.
"You run into drunk people, homeless people, some people just wandering around," he said. "For the most part, if it seems like a bad situation, we tell them to drive away and come back later."
Yakabe said other drivers also bring family members during their deliveries to help, though usually it is "aunts and uncles and cousins" and others who can serve as "relief drivers" during the early morning shift.
Police said the three girls were unharmed and might have even slept through most of the incident.