Three Puna residents, including a mayoral candidate, have been arrested in connection with a bizarre incident involving an apparent “zip-tie hoax” and assault July 7 at the Home Depot parking lot in Hilo.
Police said that when officers arrived at the parking lot to investigate a disturbance, Kalena Hoopii, 24, of Volcano, reported she had exited the store and noticed a zip-tie attached to her vehicle, which is rumored on social media to be an indication that sex traffickers or abductors have targeted a potential victim.
Hoopii said she left the area and returned a short time later, blocking one of the parking lot entrances with her vehicle in an apparent attempt to keep the would-be abductors from leaving. She told police a 55-year-old Pahoa man who was trying to exit the parking lot then entered her vehicle and assaulted her.
The man was subsequently arrested for second-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and third-degree assault.
According to police, detectives investigating the case pieced together an entirely different sequence of events upon reviewing hours of video surveillance from Home Depot and interviewing witnesses.
Police said the evidence showed Hoopii pulling into the parking lot, exiting her vehicle, going into the store and never returning to her vehicle. While in the store she met up with Kamea-Aloha Wong, 31, of Mountain View, and reported to a Home Depot associate that a zip-tie had been placed on her vehicle while she was in the store.
Hoopii’s boyfriend Michael Glendon, 38, of Volcano, who is running for mayor of Hawaii County, was observed entering the parking lot approximately a minute after Hoopii, police said. Video showed him blocking two of the parking lot entrances with vehicles and then moving Hoopii’s vehicle to block the Railroad Avenue entrance.
Police said that from the time Hoopii left her vehicle until Glendon moved it, no one else touched her vehicle.
With all three parking lot entrances blocked, Glendon was observed walking around the parking lot with a Hawaiian sharktooth war club.
Video showed the Pahoa man getting out of his car and knocking on the driver’s-side window of Hoopii’s car to see what was going on, opening the door to look inside the vehicle and then stepping away from the car.
Police said the three suspects then assaulted the Pahoa man, with Hoopii punching him in the face and Wong tackling him to the ground. Glendon then approached with the war club and repeatedly punched the man about the head, face and upper body.
Police did not indicate why the three suspects targeted the Pahoa man or what else they might have been up to.
Charges against the Pahoa man were dropped early last week and Hoopii was arrested Thursday and charged with third-degree assault and making a false police report and Wong was charged with third-degree assault and second-degree unlawful imprisonment, with bail for both suspects set at $2,000 each.
On Friday, Glendon was arrested and charged with third-degree assault, possession of a deadly weapon, second-degree unlawful imprisonment and refusing to provide ingress or egress. His bail is set at $7,000.
Police said they can’t confirm the validity of the zip-tie rumors and that “reporting such fallacies may not only be illegal, but it also spreads unnecessary fear within our community.”