Suspect Charged, Others Wanted in Connection with County Vehicle Theft
Hawaiʻi Island police have arrested and charged Eric Wilson Jr. for additional offenses in connection with the incident involving the theft of a County of Hawaiʻi Mass Transit vehicle that occurred on Monday, April 24.
At 4:40 p.m. Monday afternoon, Wilson was initially taken into custody for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle after abandoning a stolen Toyota 4Runner he was driving on Enos Road in Mt. View. He and an accomplice ran into nearby bushes; Wilson was located with the assistance of the department’s tracking dog. A search warrant served on a bag recovered in the area where Wilson was located led to the recovery of a loaded handgun with a magazine capable of hold in excess of ten rounds of ammunition.
Wilson and the stolen vehicle he was operating were connected to the stolen county vehicle which had earlier been found engulfed in flames in the remote Fern Forest subdivision. The other occupant of the 4Runner has not yet been located.
That county vehicle had been taken from the county’s mass transit base yard on East Lanikāula Street early on Saturday, April 22. The 2016 Ford F350 utility tool box truck with a lift gate, was valued at $70,000. An arson investigation continues.
The county vehicle, which was reported to have been seen traveling recklessly throughout the Hilo area over the April 22-23 weekend, was involved in two police pursuits and was responsible for at least two hit-and-run collisions involving members of the public.
Also on Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m., Puna District officers responded to a report of a vehicle matching the description of the stolen county truck traveling in the Pāhoa direction on 29th Avenue within the Hawaiian Paradise Park Subdivision.
An occupant in the stolen truck reportedly fired a gunshot out of the window in close proximity to bystanders. No injuries or damages were reported and the investigation later determined that Wilson was the occupant in the stolen county truck that fired the gunshot.
After consulting with prosecutors on Wednesday, April 26, Wilson was released pending investigation of his initial arrest for the unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.
At noon, also on Wednesday, Wilson was arrested and charged for additional offenses which include one count each of Reckless Endangering in the first-degree, Terroristic Threatening in the first-degree, Place to Keep Pistol, Possession of Prohibited Weapons (for the ammunition magazine) and Carrying/Possessing a Loaded Firearm on a Public Highway. These offenses are all classified as felonies.
Wilson’s bail for these additional offenses has been set at $16,000. He is currently being held in the Hilo cellblock pending his initial appearance in District Court on Thursday afternoon, April 27.
Detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigations into the theft of the truck and related events that followed and are asking for the public’s assistance with locating two men and two women who are wanted for questioning in connection with this incident.
Jeremy Rafael Jr. is a 25-year-old Hispanic male who is also wanted for an outstanding bench warrant. He has no permanent address but frequents the Hilo and Puna areas. He is described as being 5-foot-7, 190 pounds, with a medium build, black hair and brown eyes. He has “Eveliga” tattooed on his left forearm, a tattoo of a skull on his right bicep and a tribal design on his right forearm.
Keanu Krause is a 21-year-old Mt. View man who is also wanted for questioning in connection with an unrelated trespass incident. He is described as being part Hawaiian, 5-foot-10, 145 pounds with a slim build, black hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo of “Krause” on his right bicep and “outlawz” on his right rib cage.
Tiani Kapeli-Spencer is a 21-year-old Hawaiian Paradise Park woman who is described as part Hawaiian, 5-foot-4, 140 pounds with a medium build, shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes.
Jasmine Saragosa-Taoy is a 23-year-old Hawaiian Paradise Park woman who is described as part Hawaiian, 5-foot-3, 145 pounds, with a medium build, black shoulder-length hair and brown eyes.
They may be in the company of each other and should be considered armed and dangerous. The public is being advised not to approach them.
Anyone with information about any of these incidents is asked to call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Wendall Carter at (808) 961-2383 or via email at [email protected].
Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.