Judge ups bail for suspect in islandwide crime spree

  • Joshua Hams makes his initial appearance in Kona District Court Friday afternoon. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KEALAKEKUA — A 38-year-old man responsible for an islandwide crime spree on Wednesday made two court appearances Friday morning.

Joshua Hams was arrested and charged with 39 counts in connection to a series of incidents that stretched from East Hawaii to West Hawaii.

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During his initial court appearance for those charges on Friday, Hams hung his head and was non-responsive as Kona District Court Judge Margaret Masunaga asked if he understood the charges against him.

Masunaga then increased his bail from $812,000 to $1 million “for the safety of the whole island” and the 17 victims he encountered during his cross-island crime wave.

It all began around 9:20 a.m. Wednesday in Hilo with a report of a “mentally unstable” man brandishing a shotgun that continued to Ka‘u where the man, later identified as Hams, allegedly stole a state Highways Division vehicle and later robbed a Honaunau gas station at gunpoint.

Around noon, Hams allegedly fired shots in Kalaoa and then proceeded to the Kona Commons area where he reportedly shot out a door at the AT&T Store on and also stole merchandise. Upon fleeing, Hams reportedly hit multiple vehicles on Kuakini Highway, stole another vehicle at the Lako Street Shell gas station and eventually abandoned that vehicle and barricaded himself at a private residence in Holualoa before surrendering to police.

His preliminary hearing, during which prosecutors will work to show they have probable cause to support the filed charges, was set for 1:30 p.m. Monday.

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Hams also appeared before Kona Circuit Court Judge Melvin Fujino on Friday for a revocation of probation related to an August 2017 firearms, drug and terroristic threatening guilty plea.

Fujino set bail at $100,000 in that case and set a sentencing date for Oct. 31.

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