Alleged jewelry robbers face federal charges
Two men who allegedly pulled off a $2 million jewelry heist in broad daylight with little or no planning face one federal charge each of interfering with interstate commerce by robbery.
According to federal court documents, Marvin Quemado and Bryan Higa were charged with violating the Hobbs Act, which outlaws extortion of interstate commerce.
According to documents, Quemado allegedly saw a couple show the jewels to Quemado's mother and another woman at his parents' home in Waipahu at about 10 a.m. June 1.
Court documents state after the two vendors left, Quemado allegedly called Higa and told him that the couple had a case full of jewelry.
Quemado followed the couple to the Shell gas station at Paiwa Street where Higa showed up and followed the couple to the parking lot of the Golden Coin Restaurant.
As the male vendor was getting his aluminum jewelry case out of the trunk of his car, Higa told police that he pulled up behind him in his Chevy Blazer, put a camouflage mask over his face and armed himself with a black 9-mm semiautomatic handgun. Higa said he fired one shot into the air to scare the man so that he would not resist during the robbery, according to court documents.
But the male victim told police that the masked man fired one round at him from a distance of about five to seven feet but missed. He tried to pick up the briefcase with the jewels and said the man lunged at him with the gun and told him, "I'll kill you," according to federal documents.
The male victim told investigators that Higa might have tried to fire a second round, but the gun malfunctioned, ejecting a live round onto the ground.
Higa took the jewels and said he changed vehicles to his blue Honda Civic and drove to the Waikele Golf Course where he met Quemado, according to court documents. Both men got into Quemado's black Honda and drove back to the Blazer and retrieved the jewelry case. They went to Higa's apartment at 91-1010 Makaaloa St. and put the case in his living room, according to federal authorities.
Quemado dropped Higa back at his car, and the men left in separate vehicles. At some point they were heading down Paiwa Street when they were spotted by police, who had already had an all-points bulletin out for Higa's Honda and went after him while Quemado took off in another direction.
Higa allegedly sped eastbound in the westbound lanes of the H-1 freeway but was followed by the police helicopter to the Pearl City Shopping Center, where he abandoned the car and ran on foot to the Leeward Bowling Alley. Police found Higa on the floor of the bowling alley kitchen and arrested him after a short struggle.
Police later spotted several necklaces, pendants and/or earrings in Higa's blue Honda, but the rest of the jewelry was missing.
Higa attempted to cooperate with police and tried to surrender all the jewels, but his sister told him that someone broke into his apartment and stole the jewelry case. On Sunday an anonymous informant told police Quemado had put the jewelry in plastic bags and put the bags in a 5-gallon bucket of paint. The informant said Quemado put the bags in a pipe and buried it in Mokuleia.
Police recovered the pipe, but the victims said it contained only about 20 percent of the stolen jewelry. Officers arrested Quemado on Monday for robbery and turned the case over to federal law enforcement agents.