POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 8, 2011
Surveillance cameras at two Kaneohe businesses might have filmed an armed robbery suspect who was the subject of an intense search by a police helicopter, SWAT officers and dogs that awakened rural Waimanalo residents early Thursday.
Police continued looking Thursday for the man who stole a black Suzuki motorcycle from a customer who was pumping gas at the Aloha Petroleum Likelike station next to the Kaneohe Burger King at about 3 a.m.
No one was injured in the robbery, in which a handgun was displayed at the gas station at 45-620 Kamehameha Highway.
The man fled to Waimanalo where he abandoned the motorcycle and disappeared. A handgun was found nearby.
Aloha Petroleum and Wayne's Flooring America, which is behind the gas station, turned over their security tapes to police.
The Wayne's Flooring tape shows a possible "distraction," possibly by accomplices, before the robbery, said employee Jan Bulawan.
Meanwhile, Waimanalo residents remained on edge, knowing the robber remained on the loose, possibly in their neighborhood, after police ended a nearly six-hour search.
"We're locked down," said Kumuhau Street resident Marie Coudrier, who remained home with her two young children and canceled an appointment. "I'm not going anywhere with my kids."
Coudrier, who lives near the site where the motorcycle was left, was up with her teething toddler at 3:30 a.m.
"I heard screaming and yelling," she said.
At about 5:30 a.m. a police helicopter flew over, lighting up houses and the surrounding area with its searchlight. Officers searched her property at about 7:30 a.m.
Police had a tentative ID for the man, suspected of first-degree robbery. He is described as in his late 20s or early 30s, about 6 feet tall, 200 pounds and a medium build. He might have a tattoo under his left eye.
Officers tracked the suspect to Kumuhau Street and found the motorcycle in brush. Lt. Wayne Wong said the large number of officers was needed "because of the severity of the crime and because the male (had been) armed and because of the felony aspect of it."
Police failed to find the man in the roughly 2-square-mile search on the Kahuku side of Kumuhau Street, and above the intersection with Waikupunaha Street.
Police shut down part of Kumuhau but later allowed local traffic through while checking vehicles.
Wong said the search was made more difficult because of "the density of the brush and the terrain," which reduced the infrared heat-detecting sensors the helicopter crew used.
The area is thick with wild and cultivated foliage, farms, nurseries and a stream, and close to hiking trails.
Michael Buck, who owns a house near where the motorcycle was found, said his tenant told him police began searching the property at about 3:30 a.m.
"This seemed to be the epicenter of their search," he said.
Most of the police Specialized Services Division and other officers withdrew at about 9:15 a.m., and the roadway was reopened.
Star-Advertiser reporter Gordon Y.K. Pang contributed to this report.