Criminal charged in massive Prada heist
A 40-year-old man with a string of 30 criminal convictions was charged yesterday in connection with the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of Prada merchandise Christmas weekend.
Tracey Coryell Sr. was arrested Tuesday at Oahu Community Correctional Center, where he was already in custody on an unrelated charge. He has been charged with second-degree burglary. Prada is an Italian fashion company that sells high-end clothes and accessories.
According to court documents, Prada Hawaii Corp. was informed on Dec. 26 by its security company that its alarm had a problem. When the Kakaako warehouse was inspected, a large amount of Prada merchandise was missing, including purses, wallets, shoes, clothing and ties.
Initial reports from the company placed the value of goods stolen at about $1 million. Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said the value of the stolen merchandise had dropped "significantly" after police reviewed records, to just below half a million dollars.
On Dec. 29, police arrested a woman for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. During their investigation, police found several Prada items at the woman's Kekoa Place residence, mostly in her bedroom.
The woman said Coryell gave her the vehicle and the Prada merchandise. Coryell was identified in a photographic lineup.
Then on Jan. 10, police saw Coryell driving in a car with an expired license plate and attempted to stop him for a traffic violation. Coryell abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot but was later arrested because the car he drove was reported stolen.
Coryell was questioned and allegedly admitted his involvement in the Prada burglary on Christmas Day. Coryell said he acted as a lookout while three other men broke into the warehouse, and that he drove a stolen van to help load and transport the goods to a Salt Lake home.
Coryell said the goods were divided and that he brought his share to the Kekoa Place home.
Police are investigating at least 19 burglaries islandwide dating back to last fall that could be connected. At most of the businesses that were burglarized, including jewelry wholesaler Schwartz Inc., the security systems were compromised, police said. Police declined to release further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
Coryell was convicted of two counts of auto theft in 2005 and was sentenced to five years' probation in each case, to run concurrently.
His criminal history in Hawaii goes back to 1984, starting with auto theft. He has also been convicted of first-degree theft, second-degree burglary, abuse of a household member and assault.
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.