Burglars hit homes
of isle club owners
Police say the victims
were tailed and one house
was robbed of $300,000
Honolulu police said a group of thieves may be responsible for three recent burglaries of strip-club and bar owners' homes, including one where the suspects stole about $300,000 in cash and valuables.
Thursday, Sept. 18, 2003
>> The last name of Honolulu police Detective Robert Cravalho was misspelled as Carvalho yesterday in a Page A1 article on burglaries of club owners' homes.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at email@example.com.
In the past two months, suspects either stole or tried to break into safes in the victims' homes, according to police. One victim owns a strip club on Keeaumoku Street, another a strip club on Kapiolani Boulevard. The third owns a sports bar on Keeaumoku Street.
"We suspect these individuals are patronizing the liquor establishment, identifying the owner and following the owner home at the close of business," said Detective Robert Carvalho. "After taking note of where they live they come back at a later time when they know the owner is going to be at work, and no one is going to be home, and burglarize the unit."
HONOLULU POLICE DEPARTMENT|
One suspect in the Aiea home robbery has a cross tattoo on his left forearm, police say.
Carvalho said the most recent incident occurred Sept. 6 at a home in the Royal Summit area of Aiea. He said up to four suspects entered through a window at 10 p.m. and confronted a 20-year-old woman and an 11-year-old boy who were inside the house.
The suspects tied both up with duct tape and put them in a room, then stole a 640-pound safe from the house, using a dolly, police said.
According to police, in the safe were an estimated $300,000 in jewelry, and rare currencies and coins. The witnesses later described the men as having T-shirts wrapped around their heads to mask their features and armed with a handgun and a baseball bat.
"These individuals are dangerous," said Carvalho. "Usually when someone burglarizes a home they're ready to run if there's someone in the house.
"Not these guys. They were ready. They're prepared to confront the residents."
Another case occurred Aug. 25 at a ground-floor apartment on Young Street in Pawaa. Police said the burglars ransacked the apartment but failed to break into a safe. However, they did steal $5,000 worth of jewelry and electronic equipment, police said.
The third case happened two days earlier at an Ahana Street apartment unit near Keeaumoku Street. Thieves stole the safe in that apartment, according to police, who did not give an estimate of the safe's contents. Carvalho said that burglary took less than an hour because the victim left at 7:10 p.m. and by the time her brother came home at 7:50 p.m., the safe was gone.
Police said they have few clues about the suspects except that one of them in the Aiea burglary-turned-robbery has a large tattoo of a cross on his left forearm. Witnesses also said that the suspects used the names Peter and Junior.
Although it is unclear whether the same thieves burglarized all three residences, Carvalho said there were enough similarities to investigate the possibility.
"All the victims are bar owners in the Kapiolani-Keeamoku area, and in each case the safe appears to be the objective," he said.
Carvalho said police have also been warning other bar owners in the area, telling them to be careful at closing time when they could be followed home.
"If they suspect they're being followed, go to the nearest police station," he said. "Don't go home and call the police because that's what they want ... they want to know where you live."
Workers at another strip club along Kapiolani, who did not want to be identified, said there have been several other similar burglaries in the past few months that have not been reported to police. In each case, they said a safe from the residence was either broken into or stolen.
Police are asking if anyone has information about the three cases or similar burglaries to call Carvalho at 529-3873 or the Criminal Investigation Division at 529-3115. Anonymous calls may also be made to CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or by dialing *Crime on a cellular phone.