Man charged with burglarizing Pahoa charter school

  • JENSON CASTILLAS

HILO — A 22-year-old Pahoa man has been charged in connection with two separate burglaries from a charter school in Puna.

According to police, at 7:42 a.m. Monday, officers stopped a vehicle on Highway 130 near Paradise Drive for traffic violations and contacted the driver of the vehicle, Jenson Castillas, and a 22-year-old woman passenger.

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Officers saw several items in the rear of the vehicle that were similar to several items reported stolen from the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science, a public charter school in Pahoa, two days earlier, police said.

While investigating, officers also learned HAAS had just been burglarized again and additional items were stolen.

Castillas and his passenger, identified in a police log as Janeen Conner of Mountain View, were taken into custody and were held in the police cellblock while detectives from Hilo Investigations Section continued to investigate both burglaries.

After conferring with prosecutors, at 4:16 p.m. Tuesday, detectives charged Castillas with two counts of second-degree burglary, and his bail was set at $4,000.

Conner was released without being charged pending further investigation.

At Castillas’ initial court appearance Wednesday, his court-appointed attorney, William Heflin, requested that his client be freed on court-supervised release without cash bail being posted.

Hilo District Judge Kanani Laubach granted Heflin’s request over the objection of Deputy Prosecutor Adrienne Shergill.

Castillas waived a preliminary hearing, and Laubach ordered him to appear for arraignment and plea at 8:30 a.m. July 23 before Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto.

A check of court records finds no prior criminal record to Castillas.

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Second-degree burglary is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment upon conviction.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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