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Man released in murder case is arrested on suspicion of robbery

  • HPD
    Gary L. Landis: He is charged with being in Kapiolani Park after it was closed early Friday

Police arrested Gary Landis, a suspect who was arrested but not charged in a stabbing death of a newspaper seller in Kaimuki, for allegedly attacking a 75-year-old woman with a bat in a robbery attempt at the Ward Gateway Center Thursday.

It’s the second time Landis has been arrested since his release on June 3 in the alleged slaying of a 70-year-old newspaper vender Thaddeus “Ted” Pirga Jr. on Waialae Avenue in November.

Police said Landis, 30, attacked a woman who caught him trying to break into her car in the parking lot of Sports Authority Thursday morning. Landis allegedly hit her with a baseball bat while trying to steal her purse at 10:10 a.m.

The woman was taken to the hospital where she was treated and released, police said.

Officers chased after Landis on foot and arrested him 30 minutes later near the Ward Warehouse shopping center on suspicion of first-degree attempted robbery, breaking into a car and fourth-degree theft.

Landis has not been charged in connection with Thursday’s robbery, but remains in police custody.

On June 5, officers cited Landis at 2:15 a.m. for being at Kapiolani Park after it closed. He was cited and released. The citation is a petty misdemeanor which carries a maximum jail term of 30 days.

On June 2, a week after his release from Oahu Community Correctional Center, officers arrested Landis on suspicion of murder in the Nov. 9 death of Pirga. He was released the following day, pending investigation.

Landis had been confined at OCCC for seven months and was convicted of second-degree robbery in February. He was sentenced to four months probation on May 26 and released on May 27.

Pirga, a popular seller of the Sunday Honolulu Star-Advertiser in Kaimuki, was preparing to sell newspapers near Cafe Miro on Waialae Avenue when he was fatally stabbed at about 3:40 a.m. on Nov. 9. 

Pirga, a retired welder who lived in Hawaii Kai, sold the Sunday paper in Kaimuki for nearly 20 years. Selling papers near 9th Avenue was a family tradition that Pirga’s father, Thaddeus Pirga Sr., started about 40 years ago for The Hono­lulu Advertiser, his daughter said.

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