KEALAKEKUA — One of the 28 felonies a Kailua-Kona man was facing in connection to a theft and fraud case was discharged by a district court judge during a preliminary hearing, Thursday afternoon.
District Court Judge Margaret Masunaga found probable cause for the 54 remaining felony and misdemeanor charges to move Todd Owen Brogdon’s case into 3rd Circuit Court.
Brogdon, 48, of Kailua-Kona, was arrested Monday after Hawaii Police Department’s Special Enforcement Unit identified him through surveillance video as using a stolen debit card and two credit cards at businesses around town.
According to police, Brogdon used an American Savings Bank debit card, a Visa card and an American Express card. All cards were reported lost by their owners in December.
According to police, Brogdon mainly purchased cigarettes and prepaid cards from stores. He also allegedly bought phone cards, clothes, food items and drinks as well as household items.
During the preliminary hearing, Officer Chandler Nacino, member of the Special Enforcement Unit, testified that three of the transactions on the Visa card cleared by the bank exceeded $300.
Officer Aron Tomota, also with the Special Enforcement Unit, was questioned. Deputy Prosecutor Stephen Frye asked him what businesses surveillance video was viewed at that identified Brogdon as using the stolen cards.
One of those businesses was KTA. Brogdon’s defense counsel Andrew Kennedy asked Tomota if he personally viewed the surveillance at KTA.
Tomota had not. However, Nacino did the officer testified.
Tomota told the court he personally viewed surveillance at Target, Walmart, Hele-On gas station, Kona Commons McDonald’s and others.
Since Nacino was not questioned about viewing the surveillance at KTA, Frye conceded to dropping the charge relative to that incident.
Brogdon will next appear in 3rd Circuit Court before Judge Robert D.S. Kim on Jan. 19. Bail was maintained at $125,000.
While Brogdon was not found with the cards in his possession at the time of his arrest, police say, there were two others involved in using the American Savings Bank debit card.
Keola Werner-Kealoha, 26, was arrested and charged on Tuesday. He faces 17 fraud and theft charges, according to court documents. His bail was set at $34,000. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 16.
Joseph Derosa, 28, was arrested and charged on Wednesday and is facing 11 fraud and theft charges according to court documents. His bail was set at $23,750. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for today.
On Wednesday, police were in search of a third suspect, Tiare Kapiolani Kolowena, 54, who also allegedly used the American Express card. Authorities issued a press release on Wednesday asking for the public’s help in providing information leading to her whereabouts.
At 8:15 p.m. that night, Kolowena turned herself in to police at the Kealakehe Police Station. She is facing 14 counts of forgery, theft and fraud charges. Her bail is set $82,000 and she is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 16.