A 33-year-old Kilauea man has been arrested after he allegedly extorted money from stranded flood victims on Kauai’s north shore, police said.
Officers arrested the suspect at about 4 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of robbery, terroristic threatening and extortion. He was released pending investigation.
Kauai Prosecutor Justin Kollar said the alleged extortion occurred Sunday in the wake of the storm that inundated Kauai.
Police were informed Wednesday of the scheme where a boat operator was offering rides to people who were evacuating the Wainiha area.
The suspect allegedly transported people from Tunnels Beach to the St. Regis Princeville Resort. He reportedly stopped the boat about 200 yards from the resort and demanded $200 from each individual or they would have to swim to shore.
Police have since seized the operator’s 25-foot vessel and are seeking additional suspects who may have worked with the suspect.
“The allegations are disturbing,” Kollar said. “This is the kind of conduct that we can’t tolerate in our community.”
The exact number of victims are unclear as the investigation is ongoing, he said, adding that, so far, it’s a small group of people.
In a news release, Kauai Deputy Police Chief Michael Contrades said, “Those conducting illegal activities will be held accountable for their actions.”
Anyone with information on the alleged extortion case is asked to call Det. Colin Nesbitt at 241-1698.