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Leads pour in on ‘backpack bandit’

Following an all-out media blitz by law enforcement Tuesday, CrimeStoppers received between 50 and 60 telephone calls yesterday from people claiming to have knowledge of the so-called "backpack bandit."

Sgt. Kim Buffett, CrimeStoppers coordinator, said about 40 of the calls are considered leads that are being investigated by police detectives.

The FBI joined Honolulu police in asking for public assistance to locate a suspect believed to have committed at least four bank robberies since March — twice at a bank in Kunia and one each at two Kalihi financial institutions.

The suspect is believed to be in his 30s, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 190 pounds. He is being nicknamed the "backpack bandit" because in each of the four cases, he has thrown down his backpack at a teller window and pulled out a gun to demand money from a teller.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward to add to CrimeStoppers’ $1,000 reward. While the reward for a CrimeStoppers tip can be given anonymously, a source will have to be able to provide a name to the FBI in order for that award to be collected, Buffett said. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

Ordnance discovery closes streets

A passerby discovered an unexploded World War II mortar round in a plastic bag in a trash can at Cartwright Field in Makiki yesterday morning, causing police to close off streets in the area for about an hour.

The Honolulu Police Department’s bomb squad was dispatched to the city park after a man reported finding the potential explosive device at 8:50 a.m.

Police closed Lunalilo Street between Keeaumoku and Kewalo streets, Keeaumoku Street from Beretania Street to Wilder Avenue, and Kinau Street from Keeaumoku Street to Makiki Street until the device was removed.

The 81 mm mortar round was taken to Schofield Barracks for disposal by Army ordnance experts and the roads re-opened at 10 a.m., police said.

Its destruction was done by soldiers from the 706th Explosive Ordnance Detachment assigned to the 45th Sustainment Brigade.


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