Officers with the Hawai`i Police Department have arrested a 19-year-old Puna man in connection with the theft of a County of Hawaiʻi Mass Transit vehicle.
Eric Wilson was arrested yesterday afternoon after abandoning a stolen Toyota 4Runner he was driving on Enos Road in Mt. View. He and an accomplice ran into nearby bushes but Wilson was located with the assistance of the department’s tracking dog and was arrested for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. Wilson and the stolen vehicle he was operating were connected to the stolen county vehicle which had earlier been found engulfed in flames in the remote Fern Forest subdivision. The other occupant of the 4Runner has not yet been located. Wilson is being held at the Hilo cellblock as detectives continue the investigation.
The vehicle was taken in the early morning hours on Saturday from the county’s mass transit base yard on East Lanikāula Street. The 2016 Ford F350 utility tool box truck with a lift gate, was valued at $70,000. An arson investigation has been initiated for the vehicle which is a total loss.
The vehicle, which was reported to have been driving recklessly throughout the Hilo area over the April 22-23 weekend, was involved in two police pursuits and was responsible for at least two hit and run collisions involving members of the public.
Also on Monday afternoon, an occupant of the suspected stolen truck was reported to have fired a gunshot out of the vehicle in close proximity to bystanders. At 1:30 p.m., Puna Patrol officers responded to a report of a vehicle matching the description of the stolen county truck traveling in the Pāhoa direction on 29th Avenue within the Hawaiian Paradise Park Subdivision. No injuries or damages were reported. A reckless endangering investigation has been initiated as a result of this particular incident.
Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigations into the theft of the truck and related events that followed.
The public is advised not to approach the suspects who are considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Wendall Carter at (808) 961-2383 or via email at Wendall.Carter@hawaiicounty.gov.
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.