Man charged in connection with slew of break-ins

  • Rodney Kahele Jr.

KAILUA-KONA — A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft and burglary charges in connection to a slew of break-ins at businesses and a residence within the past week, police confirmed today.

Hawaii police officers took the Kona man into custody on Wednesday after he allegedly attempted to acquire the contents of a cash vault at a business on Olowalu Street in the Kaloko Light Industrial Park, according to a Hawaii Police Department press release.


Officials say the suspect, later identified as Rodney Kahele Jr., had gained access to a secure area of the business that contained the vault. However, he was unable to remove any cash from within after being confronted by an employee. At that point, police say, Kahele fled the area on foot.

That same day, Kahele was taken into custody at a nearby business while detectives from the department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation, the release states.

During the course of their investigation, detectives concluded Kahele was also responsible for break-ins at four area businesses and a residence on Kaiminani Drive.

The first reported break-in occurred on April 11 on Kahakai Road. According to the release, a safe containing cash and a cash register drawer were removed — neither of which have been recovered.

The release states officers responded on April 12 to a gas station on Luhia Street and determined a cashier’s room had been entered and a locked cash box was taken. Investigations revealed Kahele and another male were responsible for the break-in. The cash box has been recovered by police.

On Monday, officers responded to a Henry Street business after a man was observed removing a cash register containing cash from the business. Investigations determined Kahele was responsible for this theft as well. The cash register has not yet been recovered, the release states.

On Tuesday, officers spotted Kahele in the parking lot of a business located on Mamalahoa Highway. When they attempted to contact him, he fled the area on foot. Shortly after Kahele fled, a resident who lives nearby on Kaiminani Drive reported a man had removed a bicycle from their residence. Investigations revealed Kahele was responsible for this theft. The bicycle was recovered by detectives on Holoholo Street on Thursday.

Later on Tuesday, a business located on Olowalu Street was entered into, and two cash drawers containing coins were removed from within, the release states. Investigations revealed Kahele was also responsible for this theft. The cash drawers and coins were recovered by police.


Kahele was charged with first-degree burglary, three counts of second-degree of burglary, first-degree attempted theft, two counts of second-degree theft, third-degree theft, two counts of fourth-degree theft, two counts of fourth-degree criminal property damage, third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug and contempt of court.

Kahele appeared in District Court on Friday. Judge Margaret Masunaga maintained bail at $92,000 and set a preliminary hearing for Monday.

  1. paul April 20, 2018 4:47 pm Reply

    give this thief 20 years in prison off Hawaiian lands…I would prefer that the employee who confronted him shot him……as I feel thiefs should be shot…mahalo

    1. Pest Outwest April 20, 2018 5:14 pm Reply

      You must be joking. He’ll be out in less than three years to resume his life of crime. No assaults, no armed robberies, and he’s 19, so he won’t get much time.

  2. Supa Mana April 21, 2018 5:08 pm Reply

    Sadly, another case of WHT crime shaming, making vulnerable local youth in deseparate situations big news, destroying them publicly in our small community. Then some trolly snowbird, keyboard warrior, crime mongers validate the sentiments in the comments with violent language as if they are experts (scary). Two words: Confirmation bias. I’m not sure if it’s because we rely so heavily on tourism, but making local youth out to be terrors in our gentrified (since air bnb, or rather since 1893) communities where there is so little opportunity sounds to me like some journalistic laziness and easy pickings in the quest for a Disney Kona. Surely, we can write about something else without being so messy! Lets highlight intersectionality of these issues. I love my home, I love my people, and my heart breaks every time I see the slander of our local youth that will prove so valuable to our future. Thank you WHT for years of this. Looking like Fox news lol.
    I love you Kona, from the heart.

    1. Big Mac April 21, 2018 8:45 pm Reply

      Nobody is giving him a life sentence. We are just giving him the shame he deserves, for preying on the community. He can still turn his life around.

      1. Supa Mana April 22, 2018 9:31 pm Reply

        Turn his life around? With a sentence at 19? OK.

    2. Big Mac April 23, 2018 6:41 am Reply

      And what do you propose we do with him? Nobody wants to live in a community where people preying on the rest of the community get a pass because you don’t want to shame them and any punishment is too harsh. I’d love to hear your solution.

      1. Big Mac April 23, 2018 6:30 pm Reply

        I didn’t think you would have an answer. You love Kona and everything in there universe until this punk victimizes you.

  3. Supa Mana April 23, 2018 11:21 pm Reply

    There are so many legal theives in Hawaii that are “preying” on the people, be it the just hustle mentality of these seat belt traps, or the banks selling people lame loans, or uncle Billy Kinoi’s stripper, vacation, surfboard, ironman tab. Poor kids without resources go take it. Period. Respect to you uncle Big Mac. But it just looks like another Hawaiian mug shot, scaremongering. I would love to live in a safe community, but I’m sure all that kid wants is the good life, luxury and privilege he sees dripping and drying up before it reaches him. I’m not a judge nor court, nor policeman. Neither is wht. That’s all I’m saying. All due respect.

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