Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Church vigil helps
nab suspect

By Jaymes K. Song


Pastor Charles Couch knew he would spend hours preaching, counseling and praying at his new Ewa Beach church.

What he didn't expect was leading a late-night stakeout.

Couch, his son and three parishioners posted themselves in and outside of Calvary Chapel of West Oahu last night in hopes of catching the people responsible for breaking in three times in the past week. Loudspeakers, power tools and food were stolen.

Early this morning, their vigilance paid off.

About 2 a.m., a man rode up to the Ewa Beach church on a bicycle. He was wearing a knit cap and dark clothes. And the pastor knew he was the one.

"He was pretty sneaky-looking," Couch said.

Couch and a parishioner, in cars across the church, watched as the man tried a back door.

"He's coming," Couch alerted those inside, via walkie-talkie.

The parishioner called police. When they arrived, the man ran.

Police, Couch and his crew gave chase. More police arrived, and the man was found hiding in a yard.

The 33-year-old suspect was booked for attempted burglary. He is being investigated in the three burglaries, police said.

"We were excited. We felt like we're on 'COPS,' " said Couch, 40. "We felt sorry for the guy, but we just wanted the break-ins to stop."

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