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UPDATE: Panaʻewa Robbery Suspect Charged

September 27, 2017, 2:49 PM HST
* Updated September 28, 8:19 AM
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Benny Rapoza Jr. HPD photo.

UPDATE: Sept. 27: 4:50 p.m.

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged Hilo resident Benny Rapoza Jr., 39, in connection with a robbery reported to have occurred Tuesday, Sept. 26, at approximately 2:30 p.m. in Panaʻewa.

A 49-year-old female visitor from Massachusetts reported witnessing an unknown male suspect enter her rental vehicle, which was parked on the Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo entrance road. He began removing her belongings from within.

She confronted the suspect who tried to run back to his vehicle parked nearby when she tried to stop him.

According to the woman, the suspect placed his arm around her neck and dragged her approximately 15 feet and threw to the ground, causing pain to her neck.

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Police arrested Rapoza at a residence in a lower Puna subdivision on Wednesday, Sept. 27. He was charged that afternoon and continues to be held at the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $10,000 bail pending his initial court appearance in South Hilo District Court on Thursday, Sept. 28.

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Rapoza is charged with 2nd-degree robbery and 1st-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

Police ask anyone with additional information about this investigation to call Detective Grant Todd at (808) 961-2381.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to a $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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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UPDATE: Sept. 27, 3:35 p.m.

Hawaiʻi Island police have located a 39-year-old Hilo man wanted for questioning for a robbery that occurred Tuesday, Sept. 26, at approximately 2:30 p.m. in Panaʻewa.

Police arrested Benny Rapoza, Jr., last night at a residence in a lower Puna subdivision. He is being held at the Hilo cellblock while detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section continue this investigation.

Police ask anyone with information relating to this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Grant Todd at (808) 961-2381 or [email protected].

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to a $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. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

ORIGINAL POST

Hawaiʻi Island police are requesting the public’s assistance in locating a 39-year-old Hilo man wanted for questioning for a robbery that occurred Tuesday, Sept. 26, at approximately 2:30 p.m. in Panaʻewa.

Sought is Benny Rapoza Jr. described as 5-feet-6-inches tall, 170 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.

Rapoza has no known permanent address but frequents the Hilo and Puna areas.

Rapoza may be operating a dark green Chevy Tracker SUV with Hawaiʻi license plate number HMW 354.

Police ask anyone with information on his whereabouts to call the Hawai‘i Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or Detective Grant Todd at (808) 961-2381 or [email protected].

Tipsters who prefer to rem ain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to a $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.

Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

This information was provided by the authorities. All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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