Suspects are linked
to a string of burglaries

Two men arrested recently might
be the "pipe wrench burglars"

Police suspect two men arrested Thursday in a Moiliili condominium burglary may be the "pipe wrench" burglars responsible for a rash of Chinatown and East Honolulu break-ins.

Police Sgt. Curtis Sakamoto said police in districts for downtown Honolulu and East Honolulu, which includes Moiliili, have been discussing a possible link between burglaries in both areas.

In the Chinatown cases a burglar typically "used some type of wrench to pry open the doorknob," said Sakamoto.

The burglar's tool leaves an imprint on the doorknob like a wrench, so police have been attributing the burglaries to the "pipe wrench burglar," he said.

The burglaries typically occurred during the evening in two-story buildings housing both business and homes, Sakamoto said.

Sakamoto knows of at least 13 Chinatown break-ins that fit the description.

Police are taking inventory of the stolen items and do not yet have an estimated value, he said.

Sakamoto said there does not seem to be a pattern in the types of businesses getting hit. "Whatever strikes their fancy," he said.

He noted, however, that the businesses are typically small and in two-story walk-ups.

Because of the similarities, police believe the Chinatown break-ins are being committed by the same person or accomplices, Sakamoto said.

Lt. Alan Anami said officers believe the suspects arrested Thursday are connected to a series of burglaries in East Honolulu, but did not have details of those cases.

Police arrested a 21-year-old Liliha man and a 30-year-old Salt Lake man on Thursday after a witness saw them allegedly breaking into an apartment at the Crystal Park condominium at 855 Makahiki Way in Moiliili.

Jonathan Chuck, who lives in the building, said his neighbor's apartment on the fifth floor was broken into through the jalousies, but the burglar fled after hearing someone at home. Chuck said there was a similar attempt on a fourth-floor apartment.

When police arrived Thursday, Chuck said they told him six apartments were broken into, but a neighbor told him later there were five failed attempts and two successful ones.

Reporter Rosemarie Bernardo contributed to this story.

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

E-mail to City Desk


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