Kapahulu merchants nab suspect red-handed
Two businessmen see a dye pack explode on an alleged bank robber
Two Kapahulu Avenue businessmen took time out from selling mo-peds and surf lessons to capture a dye-covered suspected bank robber as he fled past their shops.
Aki, owner of Loco Boyz Surf School, who would give only his first name, said he was driving to his shop at about 11:30 a.m. yesterday when he saw what turned out to be a dye pack explode on a man who was running mauka on Kapahulu Avenue, covering the man in red dye. When Aki saw Bank of Hawaii's Kapahulu Branch being closed, he realized the bank had been robbed and that the person he saw was probably the robber.
Joe Shimkonis, owner of Mopeds Direct, said when he saw the dye pack explode from his shop across the street, he knew exactly what it was and gave chase.
"It was pretty obvious," Shimkonis said. "He had dye all over his hands."
He said the man did not run away, but instead put his head down and started walking away after the dye pack exploded in front of the Shell gas station at the corner of Kapahulu and Winam avenues. Shimkonis said he kept his distance in case the man had a gun.
Aki turned his van around, saw Shimkonis and someone else from the mo-ped store running after the suspect and decided to try to get in front of everyone. Aki turned right on Winam Avenue and left on 4th Avenue, stopping in front of the suspect.
"I said, 'Hey man, what you doing?' He said, 'Nothing, man, it's cool, it's cool.'"
Aki said he could see red dye on the man's hands and shirt and responded, "What you mean nothing? You just robbed a bank."
Shimkonis said he saw Aki open his door and kick the suspect in the face. Shimkonis said he saw the man reach for something in his pants, so he stepped on his hands in case he was reaching for a gun.
It turns out the man was reaching for a cigarette, which Shimkonis said he allowed the man to smoke until police arrived. Police said the suspect was not armed.
"We don't encourage anybody to chase any bank robbers because of the fact they may be armed, but in this case I guess it all worked out well," said Sgt. Mike Nakada of the Honolulu Police Department.
After that, Shimkonis went back to his shop, and Aki went back to Ala Moana Beach, where he was scheduled to give a lesson at noon.
Police arrested the suspect, 33, under suspicion of first-degree robbery. Officers recovered the money taken from the bank at the Shell station.
On Monday the man failed to show up for a scheduled court hearing to determine whether his probation for a reckless-endangering conviction last year should be revoked. So a state judge instructed prosecutors to draft an order revoking the man's probation.