On Friday, Hawai`i Police Department North Kohala Patrol responded to a store, located at the 55-0500 block of Hawi Road, for a report of a possible stolen credit card actively being used.
While en-route to the establishment, the store manager indicated that the suspects purchased over $1,000 worth of merchandise and loaded it into a white Honda Civic that had different front and rear license plates before leaving the area towards Highway 270.
The 33-year-old male victim stated that he lost his wallet somewhere in Waimea before this incident. Stores video surveillance showed a female suspect in possession of a blue credit card and using the credit card to conduct a transaction at the terminal by bypassing the PIN. The surveillance video also showed a male suspect loading the merchandise into the Honda Civic. The store copy receipt was provided, and the name on the credit card used in the fraudulent transaction belonged to the victim. The victim said he did not give anyone permission to use his credit card.
Shortly after the call was dispatched, an officer located the responsible vehicle, which was parked on the roadway shoulder in the area of Highway 270 and the 21.5 mile-marker. The vehicle was occupied by 31-year-old Michael Variez Jr. and 25-year-old Kamaile Fujishiro. Officers were able to positively identify Varize Jr. and Fujishiro as the suspects captured on the store’s video surveillance. They were arrested and transported to the Kona Police Station. The suspect’s vehicle was recovered as evidence.
Area II CIS continued the investigation and executed a search warrant of the vehicle operated by Varize, Jr., and Fujishiro.
Multiple items from the incident were recovered, along with additional items believed to be from two other stores from the Waimea area. After conferring with prosecutors, both Varize, Jr., and Fujishiro were arrested and charged with the following offenses: Fraud Use of a Credit Card, Theft II, Unauthorized Possession of Personal Confidential Information, and Prohibited Acts During Emergency. Bail was set at $6,500 each.