A hitchhiker has been charged after he allegedly robbed three men who offered him rides on three separate occasions on Hawaii island.
Mason D. Beck, 29, of Puna was charged Tuesday night with three counts of first-degree robbery, one count of kidnapping and two counts of auto theft. He is being held in lieu of $220,000 bail and is scheduled to appear at Hilo District Court today.
On Mar. 13, police said a 37-year-old man from Germany was driving a friend’s vehicle on Pahoa-Kalapana Road (Route 130) when he picked up Beck, according to a news release from the Hawaii Police Department.
After he entered the vehicle, Beck threatened the driver with a carpenter’s nail gun and told him to continue driving. After the victim drove for several miles, police said Beck ordered the 37-year-old man to pull over and exit the car. Beck then drove off in the vehicle toward Kalapana.
On Friday, a 66-year-old man was driving a blue 1991 Ford F-150 truck when he picked up Beck within the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision.
While in Keeau, police said Beck wielded a knife and ordered the victim to drive to Stainback Highway.
When they reached the old quarry area, Beck ordered the victim to stop the vehicle and took some of the victim’s personal belongings before Beck ordered the driver to get out of the truck. Police said Beck then drove off in the vehicle toward Highway 11.
On Saturday, Beck allegedly victimized a third male driver. Police said a 25-year-old man from California picked up Beck on Pahoa-Kalapana Road near Pahoa Village. Once he entered the victim’s car, Beck brandished a knife and demanded the victim drive toward the lava viewing area in Kalapana.
Police said the visitor instead drove to a populated area and honked his horn, causing Beck to get out of the car and flee.
Police received a tip Tuesday that Beck was in Pahoa Village. Patrol officers responded and took him into custody for an outstanding contempt of court warrant.
In February, a judge sentenced him to four days in jail after he was convicted for criminal contempt, a petty misdemeanor.
The investigation into the robberies is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Wendall Carter of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 961-2383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals may also call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300.