comscore Man, 31, allegedly steals occupied SUV at start of Maui crime spree
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Man, 31, allegedly steals occupied SUV at start of Maui crime spree

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Maui police arrested a 31-year-old Lahaina man in connection with a crime spree after he allegedly took a vehicle occupied by a woman and a dog in Kahului and stole another vehicle in Waihee.

Police said a 57-year-old Kahului woman reported she was seated in the rear passenger seat of a parked 2020 Nissan Armada at the Kahului Shopping Center with the engine running and doors unlocked at about 11:50 a.m. when an unknown man entered the vehicle and drove off while she was still in the SUV.

The victim pleaded with the man to let her out but he continued to drive through Kahului and eventually stopped on West Wakea Avenue near Niihau Street.

As the woman began to exit the vehicle, the suspect pushed the victim demanding her bag and phone, police said.

The woman managed to flee on foot to a nearby residence with her belongings. Police said the suspect followed her for a short distance before driving away in the SUV.

Police responded and located the suspect in the vehicle on Luawai Street in Lahaina at about 12:50 p.m. and noticed the presence of another head moving within the vehicle which they could not identify at the time.

Police ordered him to stop but he defied officers’ commands and drove through Lahaina and past Nakalele Point as police pursued him.

Police said the suspect struck a bridge at Honolua Bay and hit a vehicle on Kahekili Highway during the pursuit.

As the suspect neared mile marker 11 on the highway, he failed to negotiate a turn, causing the vehicle to go off the roadway and crash into bushes.

The suspect exited the vehicle and fled to the side of a cliff.

Police said officers located the other occupant of the vehicle, a dog that was later released to the Maui Humane Society’s custody.

The Maui Fire Department’s Air 1 helicopter assisted in the search of the suspect and made contact with him about 100 to 200 feet down the highway but he refused to come out of the bushes.

The police department’s Special Response Team also responded but could not locate the suspect.

The search was suspended due to nightfall and resumed the following morning when officers spotted a man fitting the suspect’s description taking a 1996 Ford Ranger from a residence in Waihee and fleeing southbound on Kahekili Highway.

At about 6:10 a.m. Tuesday, officers located the suspect in Wailuku and approached him when the suspect attempted to flee on foot.

As officers attempted to detain him, the suspect tried to punch an officer in the face but missed, police said.

Police arrested the suspect on suspicion of kidnapping, second-degree robbery, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle in the first-degree, reckless driving, resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle in the first degree, three counts of collisions involving damage to a vehicle or property and other offenses.

Police are continuing their investigation.

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