East Hawaii News

Accused Carjacker Makes First Court Appearance

July 22, 2013, 6:25 PM HST
* Updated July 22, 6:27 PM
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Alkapone Cruz-Balles, the 19-year-old homeless man accused of a carjacking last week, today made his first appearance in court.

District Court Judge Barbara Takase scheduled a preliminary hearing for Thursday at 2 p.m.

Cruz-Balles has been charged with first-degree robbery and car theft in connection with an incident that occurred Wednesday night in the parking lot of the Hilo Target store.

According to documents filed with the court, a 24-year-old Hilo man told police that as he was about to get into his car, Cruz-Balles approached him and brandished a knife that was “pressed into him” before demanding he hand over his keys.

The man complied and Cruz-Balles allegedly drove off in the man’s late-model Hyundai.

Police then issued an island-wide alert for the vehicle.

Alkapone Cruz-Balles glances toward the gallery during his appearance today in court. Photo by Dave Smith.

Alkapone Cruz-Balles glances toward the gallery during his appearance today in court. Photo by Dave Smith.

According to the documents, the grandmother of an unidentified 14-year-old girl told police that her granddaughter had left with Cruz-Balles in a car she believed had been stolen.

Late Wednesday night, police spotted the car in the parking lot of Isaac Hale Beach Park in Pohoiki.

As police approached, they observed both the girl and Cruz-Balles get into the vehicle and attempt to leave, the documents said.

Cruz-Balles was arrested at the scene. The girl was interviewed by police and released to her family.

The owner of the vehicle later picked Cruz-Balles out of a photo line-up.

Cruz-Balles is being held in lieu of $12,000 bail.

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