Thursday, July 15, 1999

Captured: Police apprehend Batalona in Aiea

The eight-day manhunt ends
as police apprehend the bank robbery
suspect at Pecos River Cafe

Bullet Start to finish: Timeline of events from just
before the bank robbery to Albert Batalona's capture

By Jaymes K. Song


An eight-day, island-wide manhunt for bank robbery suspect Albert Raymond Batalona ended this morning when he was captured in the parking lot of an Aiea restaurant and bar.

Art An undercover officer spotted Batalona with two other men in a white pickup traveling on residential streets near the Pearlridge Center.

Police followed the truck to the parking lot of the Pecos River Cafe at 99-106 Kamehameha Highway, where , at 6:50 a.m., Batalona peacefully surrendered to dozens of police officers with their weapons drawn.

Wilbert Ho, who lives next to the Pecos parking lot, said there were some 15 to 20 police cars surrounding the three men in the truck. One man was lying in the truck bed.

The officers, their rifles and handguns drawn, ordered the men out of the truck, Ho said. The men came out, lay on the ground, and the police took them away.

"It's the most excitement here in a long time," Ho said. "Since filming Hawaii 5-0 right here in '68."

Batalona had eluded capture since the July 7 armed robbery of American Savings Bank in Kahala.

He is accused of firing more than 20 shots at a patrol officer following the robbery, then hijacking a delivery van and making his escape.

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Albert Batalona, center, is led out of the Pearl City
police station by plainclothes officers this morning.

Police undercover units had been staking out Aiea and Pearl City all night for Batalona. They had information he was in the area, but would not disclose where the information came from.

Batalona and the two men were arrested and taken to the Pearl City police station for about two hours before being taken to police headquarters.

A solemn Batalona wouldn't say much to the flock of reporters and photographers as he was placed in the squad car.

His only comment was that he loves his son.

Batalona was booked for first-degree robbery. Siosaia Talakai and Kapena Kukonu were booked for first-degree hindering prosecution.

Talakai, 21, and Kukonu, 22, both of 2511 Kapiolani Blvd., are not believed to be connected with the bank robbery.

'I looked out the window
and sure enough, there were about
50 police officers shaking hands
and congrat-ulating each other.
There never was any gunfire.'

Bobby Santiago


Moments before Batalona was apprehended by police in Aiea, he was on the phone with television station KITV.

Batalona had called the ABC television affiliate earlier in the week, expressing hope to see his 3-year-old son. This morning, just before 7 a.m., Batalona called KITV's newsroom again to say he was being followed.

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Officers this morning comb through a truck parked in an
Aiea parking lot next to a NAPA Auto Parts store. Raymond
Batalona had earlier been captured in the parking lot.

"I like turn myself in," Batalona told the television station, "but I like you guys to be there."

As the news station tried to determine Batalona's location, voices, believed to be those of Honolulu police officers, were heard ordering Batalona out of his vehicle.

At that point, the phone connection was cut off.

Bobby Santiago, manager of the Pecos River Cafe, said when he arrived at work at 6 this morning he didn't notice anything unusual.

An hour later he was called by a local radio station asking if he knew anything about the arrest in his parking lot, which overlooks Pearl Harbor.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
A police official collects fingerprints from the glass door
at American Savings Bank following the robbery.

"I looked out the window and sure enough, there were about 50 police officers shaking hands and congratulating each other," said Santiago.

"There never was any gunfire or anything," said Santiago.

"It has been really quiet."

Batalona had been able to elude capture largely due to his ability to switch vehicles, but police were being flooded with tips of reported sightings.

Law enforcement officials had urged Batalona to turn himself in, fearing an eventual confrontation.

Detective Letha DeCaires, CrimeStoppers coordinator, said before today's arrest that police have been busy checking out leads."It appears he's traveled around in numerous cars," she said. "We don't know how many or have any descriptions.

By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
A Honolulu Police Department officer searches
house to house in Kaimuki after the robbery.

"We had a call (Wednesday) and tracked one car from a dealership to four places before we got to the registered owner. The guy looked a lot like Batalona."

Suspects Sean Matsunaga, who was scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 31 for burglarizing Daiei Kaheka last March 3; Jacob Travis Hayme and Roger Dailey have been charged in the bank robbery.

Dailey, who has been cooperating with the investigation, has been placed in protective custody.


Time Line

July 6-7

Two vehicles that would be used in the robbery were stolen: a white Chevy Blazer from lower Manoa, reportedly on Seaview Avenue, and a blue Cadillac on Date Street.

July 7

10 a.m.: Gang robbed American Savings Bank at 1215 Hunakai St. and eluded capture following a shootout. They made off with a reported $100,000.

10:15 a.m.: A stolen white Chevy Blazer was recovered on Luawai Street, near Pahoa Avenue.

8:30 p.m.: A stolen blue Cadillac believed used by the robbers was recovered in a parking lot on Ward Avenue.

July 8

Rewards totaling $45,000 were announced.

July 9

Police questioned a man, later identified as Roger Dailey, in connection with a supermarket discount card found in the stolen Blazer. The man was later released. HPD received a CrimeStoppers tip naming an Alray, also known as Al, a Caucasian/Portuguese male in his 20s, and a Sean, a Japanese-mix male in his 20s, as suspects in the robbery. Both have rifles, and Alray works for a gun club, the caller said.

July 10

The man later identified as Roger Dailey was brought back for more questioning. After he reportedly failed a polygraph test, he began cooperating with police. HPD received a second CrimeStoppers tip naming an Albert Raymond Batalona, also known as Alray or Al, employed at the Diamond Head Gun Club, a Sean Matsunaga, a Jacob Hayme and an unknown black man about 25 years of age, as being the bank robbers.

July 11

Noon: Sean Matsunaga, 20, was arrested without incident fronting 1224 Koko Head Ave. when he came out to buy a newspaper.

3 p.m.: Jacob Travis Hayme, 22, was arrested at 1023 Kawaiahao St. His girlfriend, Jennie Villanueva Mendoza, 23, also was arrested. A search warrant was executed on Hayme's residence, and $44,807 was located. Some of the bills had dye pack stains on them. Also recovered was an assault-style rifle fitting witness descriptions of weapons used in the bank robbery.

Evening: Dailey was placed under arrest.

July 12

Matsunaga and Hayme were charged in U.S. District Court. A third man, Albert Raymond Batalona, 24, was also charged in the complaint. An affidavit said that a "cooperating individual" had confessed to being one of the robbers and had identified the other three as Matsunaga, Hayme and Batalona. The affidavit also said that the four subjects had met at the home of Hayme and split up the money taken during the robbery. Police issued an all-points bulletin and asked for the public's help in finding Batalona.

July 13

Roger Dailey was charged in the robbery, and appearing in U.S. District Court, was placed in the protective custody of the HPD. An affidavit said Dailey was cooperating in the investigation, that he confessed to being one of the four masked robbers and that he identified the other three as Batalona, Matsunaga and Hayme. Also, police raided a School Street residence and recovered firearms and property from one of the stolen vehicles used in the robbery. A man believed to be Batalona called a Honolulu TV station twice, criticizing the media and Honolulu police. He called Honolulu police "thugs" and "killers." He made an emotional statement saying he only was out to get back his son, who was taken away by Child Protective Services 11 months ago. "That's my main priority," he said.

July 14

A man believed to be Batalona called one or more Honolulu radio stations to make public statements. Peter Wolff Jr. of the federal public defender's office called a TV report that Batalona had agreed to surrender this morning "an exaggeration" but did not deny there's been direct contact with the fugitive about surrendering to federal officials.

July 15

Batalona was captured about 6:50 a.m. outside the Pecos River Cafe on Kamehameha Highway in Aiea.

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