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StarBulletin.com

Police / Fire


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POSTED: Wednesday, February 04, 2009

HONOLULU

Man accused in 2 extortion cases

Police arrested a 32-year-old Kaneohe man on Monday who allegedly tried to extort $6,500 in August in two separate cases.

On Aug. 8, the suspect struck up a “;friendly”; conversation with a woman in Ewa Beach and elicited personal information.

Police said the suspect used that information by contacting her 35-year-old husband, and allegedly identified himself as her attorney. Police said the suspect allegedly told the husband his wife had secretly filed for divorce and was planning to take his children from him.

He offered to turn the tables on the wife for $5,000, police said.

The husband confronted the suspect after he learned that he was being conned, police said. The suspect then allegedly threatened the man and his family.

On Aug. 11, the suspect allegedly approached a second person, a 43-year-old man and his wife and children at a Honolulu retail store, and struck up a conversation and told him he could help the man get a desirable job. The man was interested at first but upon learning the suspect wanted a $5,000 fee, he changed his mind, police said. The suspect then allegedly threatened harm to the man and his family, saying he had seen them, and threatened to kill them if he did not pay $1,500.

The man, fearing for his family's safety, deposited the money into the suspect's bank account, police said. Police were able to locate and arrest the man based on records, surveillance photos and photo lineups. He was arrested Monday on suspicion of two counts of first-degree extortion.

Roofers sparked Heald College fire

A fire on the fifth floor of Heald College Plaza at 1500 Kapiolani Blvd. Friday was caused by workers using a torch to prepare asphalt-like sheeting for roof repairs, according to investigators with the Honolulu Fire Department.

The workers accidentally charred a wooden roof cap that kept smoldering after it was covered by the asphalt sheeting, investigators said. Smoke from the smoldering roof cap entered the air conditioning and ventilation system, forcing evacuation of the building, according to an HFD news release. The fire did not cause any interior flame or heat damage, but a wet standpipe connection that failed during the firefighting effort caused water damage, the release said.

Damage was estimated at $40,000.

Restaurant reports safe was stolen

Police are looking for suspects who stole a safe from a Sand Island area restaurant early yesterday.

At about 2:30 a.m., a 45-year-old man arrived at his restaurant on Sand Island Access Road and discovered that it had been broken into.

He reported to police that a safe with an undisclosed amount of money and checks was missing.

Police opened a second-degree burglary case.

Man, 50, charged in sexual abuse

Police charged a 50-year-old Lanakila man for allegedly sexually assaulting two juvenile girls over several years.

On Monday, a 16-year-old girl reported that she had been sexually assaulted for years. Her younger sister, 14, said that she had also been sexually assaulted.

The alleged sexual assaults took place from 1999 to 2005. Harold Borthwick was charged last night with two counts of first-degree sexual assault and nine counts of third-degree sexual assault. He was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Mo-ped rider dies in Big Isle crash

A Big Island man died yesterday after his mo-ped rear-ended a car on Alii Drive in Kona, Hawaii County fire officials said.

The victim, who was not identified, was not wearing a helmet and suffered “;severe head trauma”; in the crash, officials said. The mo-ped was traveling south near Laaloa Beach when it struck the vehicle from behind.

The operator was pronounced dead at Kona Community Hospital. None of the occupants of the vehicle was injured, fire officials said.

Armed suspect arrested in threats

Police arrested a 27-year-old man for allegedly threatening a family with a knife.

At about 7:30 last night, the suspect approached a family at a Linapuni Street apartment complex in Kalihi and asked if he could buy drugs from them.

When the family replied that they are not involved in drugs, the suspect became upset and threatened the group with a knife, police said.

A nearby security guard detained the suspect for police, who arrested him on suspicion of first-degree terroristic threatening.

EAST OAHU

Electrical failure caused truck fire

An auto fire that destroyed a Toyota pickup truck and seriously injured one person Friday was caused by an electrical failure within a power inverter socket in the bed of the truck, fire investigators found. The truck was town-bound on Kalanianaole Highway at Puuikena Drive at the base of Hawaii Loa Ridge when it caught fire, officials said. A second person in the truck also was injured. The truck was destroyed, a loss estimated at $26,000.

CENTRAL OAHU

Arson suspected in blaze at school

Fire investigators say a fire that heavily damaged a scorekeeper shed at Mililani High School early yesterday was intentionally set.

The fire was reported at 12:05 a.m. in a two-level wooden shed near the softball field backstop. The fire caused an estimated $30,000 damage to the shed, and $15,000 damage to its contents, including pitching machines and other athletic equipment, a fire official said.

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

Resident escapes burning home

Fire heavily damaged a home in the Paradise Park subdivision in Puna on the Big Island yesterday, according to a news release from the Hawaii County Fire Department.

The fire at 15-1932 2nd Ave. was reported at 5:22 p.m. A man sleeping in the house was awakened by thick black smoke coming from the living room and kitchen, the release said.

The man tried to put out the fire, but it was too large. Fire crews arrived as he escaped the flames, the release said.

Damage was estimated at $340,000. The cause was under investigation.