Search For Jail Escapees Expands to Puna, Kona
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by Dave Smith
Big Island police today are continuing their search for two men who escaped Wednesday morning from Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
The escapees, 35-year-old Jarvis Naoke Higa and 31-year-old Ryan James Jeffries-Hamar, were last seen at around noon Wednesday in the Kaumana area.
Capt. Robert Wagner of Hilo Patrol today said police have continued to receive tips from the public.
“The focus today is to follow up on all leads,” he said. “There’s been sightings reported but not confirmed.”
The search area has been expanded from Hilo to Puna and also to Kona, where Jeffries-Hamar previously lived.
Police today issued a statement saying that the pair may intend to rob a bank. As a result, financial institutions have been advised to take heightened security measures.
It is believed they were responsible for a break-in of a house Wednesday on Kaumana Drive. It also appeared the two tampered with a car parked at the home in an unsuccessful attempt to steal it.
When Higa and Jeffries-Hamar escaped they were barefoot and wearing grey sweat pants and white T-shirts.
Wagner said the two appear to have stolen clothes and shoes from the burglarized home, but authorities have not confirmed what might have been taken.
No other home break-ins have been reported that would likely be attributed to the escapees, he said. That also goes for car thefts, so unless they received outside assistance, police believe the escapees are likely still on foot.
The escapees were both in jail awaiting trial: Higa for a charge of attempted murder and Jeffries-Hamar for escape from a correctional facility. The latter was also serving time for a parole violation.
If or when the pair are apprehended, police say they face a slew of new charges from their activities Wednesday.
From their violent escape from HCCC they will each have to answer to escape, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, robbery, car theft and terroristic threatening charges. There are also investigations of burglary and attempted car theft crimes related to the house break-in.
And those are only the ones of which police are currently aware.