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Man arrested for allegedly rummaging through fire-ravaged house


Tips led police to a man who was allegedly seen rummaging through the remains of a home that was set on fire Friday, killing a 97-year-old woman.

Police arrested the 35-year-old Ewa Beach man on Kauiki Street in Ewa Beach Tuesday afternoon for investigation of two counts of first-degree burglary.

Honolulu police Sgt. Kim Buffett said Wednesday that police received several tips in response to a CrimeStoppers release about two men wanted for burglaries on the same street of Friday’s house fire.

The CrimeStoppers release said one man was caught on video burglarizing a Hoomalolo Street home in September 2011, and a second man was also recorded on video burglarizing the same home March 8. The men were seen taking exotic fish in both burglaries. 

CrimeStoppers released videos of the men creeping through a part of the home while trying to cover their faces with their shirts. Police said the men knew there was a surveillance video.

The Ewa Beach man was arrested in connection with the 2:06 a.m. burglary on Sept. 11 and an incident on Saturday. In the latter case, police said, the man was seen about 6:25 a.m. in the remains of the charred home at 1888 Hoomalolo.

A Honolulu Fire Department investigator determined the 4:36 a.m. blaze was intentionally set. 

Betty Hagihara died in the fire. The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause of her death was pending.

Hagihara’s son, who also lived at the home, told a neighbor burglars had hit his home seven times in the past and that he suspected burglars were trying to get at his model plane collection in the garage when the fire started.

Police did not say if the Ewa Beach man faced other charges.


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