KAILUA-KONA – A 38-year-old man faces 39 charges in connection to a crime spree Wednesday that spanned East and West Hawaii.
Joshua Hams, of Kailua-Kona, will make his initial court appearance this morning in Kona District Court.
Hams is currently being held at the Kona police cellblock without bail on a probation violation charge. Bail was set at $812,000 on the remaining charges.
Court records indicated Hams was charged in 2017 with 10 offenses related to firearms, drugs and terroristic threatening. All but three charges were dropped when he pleaded guilty to place to keep a pistol or revolver, first-degree terroristic threatening and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug.
In January 2018 he was sentenced to 18 months incarceration with credit of three days time served. The remaining time was suspended on the condition he remained in a residential substance abuse treatment program as approved by his probation officer.
Hams was charged Thursday for a slew of offenses stemming from Wednesday’s spree that covered several police jurisdictions.
The incident began Wednesday morning when South Hilo patrol officers responded to an 8:19 a.m call of a possibly mentally unstable male at a hotel on Banyan Drive in Hilo.
The reporting party stated that the male may be armed with a firearm and was operating a dark colored Honda SUV. Officers located him just after 9:20 a.m. in the area of the hotel on Banyan Drive.
The driver, later identified as Hams, refused to stop, and police said they did not continue to pursue the vehicle out of concern for public safety.
A short time later, police responded to a call of a traffic accident involving the vehicle Hams was reportedly operating and a dark colored Toyota truck at the intersection of Komohana Street and West Kawailani Street in Hilo. The driver of the Toyota truck was not injured in the accident.
At about 10:50 a.m. Ka’u Patrol officers received a call reporting a male party in his mid to late 20s, with no shirt and numerous tattoos walking on the side of the road just south of the Naalehu Police Station carrying a firearm. This description matched that of Hams.
At about 10:52 a.m. Ka’u Patrol officers responded to a report of a State of Hawaii truck that was stolen from the state highways baseyard in Ka’u. The state truck was driven through several locked gates before heading out of the baseyard. The dark colored Honda SUV Hams was driving was also located in the Ka’u state highways base yard.
A state Department of Transportation spokesperson said the driver of the truck was at the baseyard on his lunch break and left the keys in the truck.
In light of the theft, the department said Thursday they are looking into adding additional security and procedures at their baseyards.
Around 11:25 a.m. Wednesday, the stolen state truck side swiped a dark colored Ford sedan headed north on Highway 11. Hams allegedly pointed a firearm at the driver of the Ford sedan before leaving the area northbound on Highway 11. The driver of the Ford sedan was not injured.
At 11:36 a.m. Hams reportedly robbed Patel’s gas station in Captain Cook at gunpoint. Patel’s confirmed the armed robbery took place but declined to comment.
Hams then reportedly left with an undisclosed amount of money.
No one was injured in the robbery.
At 12:01 p.m. the stolen state vehicle was located by police in the area of Ahulani Street in Kailua-Kona. The suspect then fired a firearm out of the window of the vehicle and fled the area. No one was injured in the shooting.
Shortly later, about 12:13 p.m., Hams headed to the AT&T store on Makala Street in Kailua-Kona where he attempted to enter the locked front door. He then fired a round into the store, shattering the glass door. Once inside the store the suspect removed several items and fled the area.
No one was hurt in this robbery.
AT&T declined comment due to the ongoing investigation.
Hams then reportedly hit several vehicles at the intersection of Kuakini Highway and Hualalani Road with the state truck and continued southbound.
Next Hams reportedly abandoned the State Highways Division vehicle at the Lako Street Shell and attempted to steal a car at gunpoint from a female party. He was unsuccessful in his attempt but subsequently was able to steal an SUV from a woman at the same station and flee the scene.
No one was harmed in this vehicle theft.
Shell manager Lynette Pabre was on duty at the time of the car theft, but did not witness the actual felony. She stated the woman calmly entered the convenient mart and informed her that her car had just been stolen. The suspect was brandishing a shotgun when he asked the woman for her car.
After reviewing surveillance tapes, Pabre said the entire ordeal lasted two minutes.
Shortly after stealing the SUV, the suspect headed to a residence on Kalamauka Street in Holualoa and barricaded himself within the residence. Police located him and the Hawaii Police Special Response team responded to the scene.
At 1:39 p.m. Hams surrendered and is taken into custody by members of the police tactical team. No one was hurt during the incident and arrest.
The public was never notified though a Nixle alert, an alert system the department issues to cellphones across the island, of the ongoing situation.
Individual locations in Kailua-Kona, however, were instructed by police on scene to go into active shooter lockdown.
Robbie Lee, property manager for Mokuaikaua Church, told West Hawaii Today during the ordeal that their preschools on site went into lockdown.
“It was scary,” he said of his reaction to the alert.
Even though the ordeal began in Hilo, Area II Major Chad Basque in Kona said that failing to alert the public of the islandwide chase was an oversight on his part.
Hams with charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree criminal property damage, seven counts of second-degree criminal property damage, third-degree criminal property damage, two counts of fourth-degree theft, seven counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony, three counts of first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted robbery, three counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, second-degree terroristic threatening, three counts of second-degree reckless endangering, violation of the conditions of probation, four counts of possession of a firearm prohibited, second-degree unauthorized entry into a dwelling, reckless driving, resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle and accident involving property damage.
The case is being investigated by the Area II Criminal Investigations Division and police ask that anyone with information call Detective Pernell Hanoa at (808) 326-4646, ext.281, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.