A 55-year-old Pahoa man was arrested Tuesday afternoon after police were sent to the Hilo Home Depot store to a report of a disturbance.
The Hawaii Police Department said South Hilo Patrol Officers responded about 1:10 p.m. to the home improvement store on Makaala Street. Upon arrival, officers determined that a 24-year-old Volcano woman had exited the home improvement store and noticed a “zip-tie” attached to her vehicle.
Police said the woman left the parking lot, but returned a short time, later blocking one of the entrances to the establishment.
The 55-year-old Pahoa man was attempting to exit the parking lot, and entered the woman’s vehicle in an attempt to move it out of the way, according to police. In the process, the 24-year-old woman was assaulted as she attempted to prevent the Pahoa man from moving her vehicle.
Bystanders detained the suspect until police arrived; he was arrested at the scene for third-degree assault and second-degree unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.
Police said the investigation is ongoing, noting that no one has been charged at this time.
“There are stories on social media regarding “zip-ties” on vehicles being connected to possible abductions and human trafficking. At this time police cannot confirm any validity to that story in this case,” the department said in a media release.