A Keaau man faces the possibility of enhanced sentencing for allegedly burglarizing a home in the Orchidland Estates subdivision while the area was under a state of emergency.
On Sept. 8, an occupant of the house returned home and found the suspect entering the dwelling through a window then exiting and fleeing in a van driven by another man.
A police investigation led to the arrest Thursday of 23-year-old Ronald Altura Jr., who was subsequently charged with burglary of a dwelling during an emergency declaration. Altura is being held at the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Because the alleged crime occurred during an declared emergency, the penalty would be upgraded from a Class B felony to an Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison with no possibility of probation. A Class felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi proclaimed a state of emergency for the Puna District on Sept. 4 in response to advancing lava from Kilauea volcano.