Suspect told police about copper theft
Wire was stolen from a golf course and sold to a recycler
The first person charged with violating the state's new copper theft law admitted to police that he stole heavy copper wire twice from the West Loch Golf Course, a Honolulu police detective testified yesterday.
Detective Greg Bentosino said that when Diamantino Reis went back to the golf course a third time, police were waiting in a stakeout and arrested him.
Reis, 43, of Makakilo, is charged with second-degree theft, theft of copper and second-degree criminal property damage. All three charges are Class C felonies, punishable by five years in prison.
Reis was in Honolulu District Court yesterday for a preliminary hearing. The judge ordered Reis to stand trial in Circuit Court.
Golf course superintendent Tony Balad Jr. said he discovered the thefts Sept. 10. He said he was informed the previous day that the snack shop near the 10th tee didn't have electricity.
When he and the golf course's maintenance supervisor went to inspect the electrical boxes, they discovered wires taken from two parts of the golf course.
Both segments were missing nine wires. Seven were 1 inch thick, and two were lighter gauge. The first segment was 93 feet long. The second was 116 feet long. Balad said they also discovered wires in another part of the golf course were cut but had not been removed.
An engineer from Pacific Electro-Mechanical Inc. testified yesterday that it would cost the city $26,716 to replace the stolen copper wire and repair the damaged fixtures.
Based on a tip from a confidential informant that Reis stole the wire and that he and another man were going to return to the golf course to steal more, Honolulu police and state deputy sheriffs set up surveillance of the golf course near the snack shop Sept. 11, according to court records.
Police arrested Reis just after midnight Wednesday as he ran from the snack shop.
Interviewed later in the day, Reis waived his right to an attorney and admitted stealing copper wire from the golf course on two previous occasions and attempting to steal more wire when he was caught, Bentosino said.
Bentosino said Reis admitted stealing the 93-foot segments of wires with two other men and taking the wires to Oneula Beach Park in Ewa Beach, where they stripped off the insulation. Bentosino said Reis sold the wire to a metal recycler in Halawa for about $1,500.
Reis admitted going back to West Loch Golf Course another day with a different man to steal the second segment of wires, Bentosino said. He said Reis sold the second set of wires to the same Halawa recycler for about the same amount of money as the first.
Bentosino said on both occasions Reis presented the required documentation to the recycler.
Reis named all of his alleged accomplices, but so far he is the only person who has been arrested for the thefts.
He remains in custody unable to post $40,000 bail.