HILO — A Hilo couple was arrested and charged Friday in a slew of crimes related to drugs, drug distribution, motor vehicle thefts and theft of property.
The arrest of a 22-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman stems from motor vehicle thefts that have taken place at Honolii Beach Park. The beach park is a popular place for water sport activities along the Hamakua Coast.
Police began investigating incidents of motor vehicle thefts a few months ago that took place in the area and were able to identify two suspects in the investigation.
Acting on an investigation into narcotics distribution in the Laukapu Street area of Hilo, police served a search warrant Thursday on a residence where they arrested Travis Anzai and Shanlia Baker-Sigler after discovering heroin, ammunition and evidence of drug distribution within the residence. Police also found evidence that linked the couple to the motor vehicle thefts in the Honolii Beach area.
Police later charged the couple with multiple offenses that include drug possession and distribution, theft, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and multiple counts of unauthorized possession of personal confidential information and credit card theft.
Anzai is being held on $307,000 bail and Baker-Sigler is being held on $157,000 bail pending their court appearance on Monday.
Officer Thomas Chun-Ming said in a press release on the bust that the investigation was a team effort involving the community and the police.
“Information that we obtained in the investigation stemmed from Craigslist, where the suspects posted some of the stolen property and one of the victims was able to identify the stolen property through social media posts.”
Police also obtained information from witnesses while canvassing the area for leads and in one case police obtained video from a local resident that helped identify one of the accomplices in the vehicle thefts.
“Had it not been for the information that we obtained working with the public on the cases such as the video, witnesses coming forward and people getting involved we may not have been successful in apprehending this couple,” Chun-Ming said. “We want to thank the public for getting involved and helping the police with this crime trend. It truly was a team effort.”
Police want to warn the public about making sure that they take preventive measures in safeguarding their property and vehicles. In some of the cases police found that the suspects used a look-out who saw where patrons visiting the beach area hid their keys while taking part in water activities.
In some incidents victims used magnetic key holders, hid keys under the bumper, in bed liners of trucks and in some instances left the vehicles unlocked and keys in the cup holder. These vehicles became easy targets for the suspects.