A 27-year-old Kailua-Kona man made his initial appearance in court Tuesday in connection with the robbery of a tourist at a national park in Kona and the theft of two cars from a rental agency.
Police caught Justin Matias over the weekend and charged him Monday with robbery and two counts of car theft.
Police said a 25-year-old Bellaire, Texas, man was at the Koloko-Honokohau National Historic Park at about 7:15 p.m. Friday when he saw another man rummaging through his bag. He told police the man punched him in the face and fled with his cellphone and prescription glasses.
Responding officers noticed a black Chevrolet Cruze parked in the area that had been stolen from a rental car company in Kailua-Kona. When a white Chevrolet Impala approached the area, officers attempted to stop it to question its occupants, but the suspects fled south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway.
Officers later determined that the Impala had been stolen from the same company.
Police spotted the Impala on Saturday in a parking lot at Kealakekua Bay and investigators determined that Matias and a 23-year-old Kealakekua woman had been in the car.
They arrested Matias and Briana Pama, of Kealakekua later that day. Further investigation led police to believe that Matias was responsible for the robbery at the national park and that Pama drove the Impala.
Police also recovered the robbery victim’s cell phone and the keys to the stolen Cruze.
Pama, 23, of Kealakekua, was charged with resisting arrest and two counts of car theft. She posted $4,500 bail.
Matias’ bail was set at $45,000.