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Alert neighbor thwarts burglary at Hawaii island home

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 8:27 p.m. HST, Oct 25, 2012

An alert neighbor tipped off Hawaii County police who arrested a 29-year-old Keaau man on charges stemming from a break-in at a Puna house Wednesday.

Just before 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, the neighbor, a 42-year-old Hawaiian Paradise Park man, called police and reported hearing noises from a nearby residence where the occupant was not home. 

Responding Puna patrol officers arrested a man in the process of dismantling a solar-powered system.

Ronald K. Lopes Jr. was charged with one count of first-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree promoting a dangerous drug, and two counts of prohibited acts related to drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $65,000. 

The drug charges stem from an ice pipe with residue and syringes that were visible on the front seat of the car Lopes drove to the scene, police said.

Lt. Gregory Esteban from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section credited the Police Department’s partnership with the community for the arrest of this suspect.

“Citizens are playing a more active role in protecting their communities and, as a result, programs such as Neighborhood Watch and CrimeStoppers are successful,” Esteban said. “Those extra sets of eyes have proven invaluable in effective police work.”

Police continue to ask that anyone with information on burglary activities contact either Detective John Rodrigues Jr. at 961-2384 or or Detective Royce Serrao at 961-8810 or

Tipsters may call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. 

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