HPD employee among suspects accused of robbery, other offenses

  • Left: Adrian Ruiz. Right: Rafael Garcia

A Hawaii Police Department officer assigned to a limited-duty position and a second man are facing robbery, terroristic threatening and trespassing charges stemming from an incident that occurred Sunday in Kailua-Kona.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, Kona Patrol officers were dispatched to meet with a family in the area of the 73-4300 block of Holoholo Street. Upon contacting the family, officers learned that they were approached while on their property by four unknown men who were demanding to see one of the residents of the home regarding an allegation of theft, according to police.

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The four men, one of whom was reported to be in possession of a baseball bat, left the area prior to officers arriving on the scene. Based on the information provided by the family, officers located one of the vehicles carrying two of the alleged suspects.

The men, identified as 42-year-old Rafael Garcia and 38-year-old Adrian Ruiz, both of Waikoloa, were arrested and taken into police custody while the investigation continued. A 2005 Cadillac Escalade was also seized for forfeiture, police said.

Ruiz is employed by the Hawaii Police Department and last served as a South Kohala Patrol officer in August 2015, according to police.

“He is currently assigned to a limited duty position at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Kona,” police said. “A concurrent internal investigation was also generated by the Office of Professional Standards.”

Police Chief Paul Ferreira said Ruiz has been out on authorized leave of absence that was nondisciplinary. He is not in the possession of a department-issued firearm.

Ruiz was hired in July 2009 and completed training among the 77th Recruit Class.

In the second quarter of 2010, he and another officer were commended by the public for recovering a wallet the same day it was stolen from a Waikoloa woman, according to the Hawaii Police Department’s website. In 2011, Ruiz was thanked for “his intuition and outstanding investigation that led to the discovery of a glitch in the register system at a store, which caused a customer to be charged for an expense he did not incur.”

Garcia and Ruiz were each charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree terroristic threatening and fist-degree criminal trespassing. Bail was set at $12,250 for Ruiz and $61,000 for Garcia.

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Both men were able to post bail prior to their initial hearing Wednesday.

Police are still seeking information on the two other men involved in the incident. Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to contact Detective James Steffen of the Area II Criminal Investigations Section at (808) 326-4646, ext. 227, or the department’s nonemergency number at (808) 935-3311.

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