Wednesday, May 16, 2001

A police SWAT team searched house-to-house along
Farmers Road and Kolohala Street in Kahala yesterday
looking for state hospital escapee Leonard Moore.

Escapee caught
in Kahala

State Hospital hospital
quickly returns fugitive
Leonard Moore to police

By Nelson Daranciang

Recaptured Hawaii State Hospital escapee Leonard Moore is in Honolulu police custody after state health officials told them they were not adequately equipped or staffed to prevent another escape.

"In this case the individual was originally transferred to the State Hospital. We made a determination that we did not have the security in place to house the individual there. And the police agreed to take the individual back to jail," said Bruce Anderson, state Health Director.

Police recaptured Moore, 35, this morning less than a mile from where a SWAT team conducted a house-to-house search for him yesterday. Police are pursuing a single escape charge for Moore.

Moore escaped from the State Hospital on April 7 by throwing a television through a glass window. He had previously escaped from there on March 28 by throwing a table through another window.

Kahala residents today expressed relief at Moore's capture. Moore is a suspect in a series of burglaries and auto thefts in the area.

Pat Schneider, who lives on Amau Street, said she put padlocks on the gates to her home last night after an unsuccessful police manhunt for Moore yesterday afternoon.

"We have a good police force," said Marie O'Brian, 80, who lives on Amau and Koae streets.

O'Brian said she was awakened this morning by someone shaking the gate to her fence.

"I thought it was the workmen here to get an early start," she said. But then she realized it was 3 a.m. and another neighbor called her to let her know that a man was moving through the neighborhood.

That neighbor called police at 3:30 this morning to tell them that the motion sensor lights in her garage were going off and on.

Responding patrol officers were able to apprehend Moore down the road at 4215 Amau St.

Moore was to have returned to the State Hospital to be evaluated for his mental fitness to stand trial for a previous auto theft. Anderson said State Circuit Court Judge Rey Graulty this morning agreed to let health officials evaluate Moore where ever they deem it appropriate.

Hawaii State Hospital Administrator Barbara Peterson said Moore's evaluation will be conducted at the Honolulu Police Department cell block. "We will complete the evaluations that were ordered by the court and then based on those evaluations we will determine where he can best be placed," Peterson said.

Police increased patrols in Kahala and reminded residents to lock their doors last night after a man matching Moore's description was spotted by two people at homes on Kolohala Street and Noio Street. Patrol and solo bike officers blocked off Kolohala, Noio, Onaha Street and Farmers Road just before 2 p.m. yesterday while members of HPD's Specialized Services Division conducted a door-to-door search until 4:30 p.m.

Police said there were other sightings of Moore in the area over the past week.

Police believe Moore may have been involved in recent auto theft cases in the Kahala area. They believe Moore was involved in an incident on Aukai Avenue Saturday that ended when a police fired two shots at him but missed.

Patrol officers spotted a man matching Moore's description Saturday at Aukai Avenue near Hakaka Street between 3 and 4 a.m. The man had lost control of the stolen car he was driving and crashed. Police chased the man to a construction site.

The officer fired after the man refused an order to drop the weapon he was carrying. The officer fell and the man fled.

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