HPD Arrests Two in Connection to Armed Robberies on Shipman Beach Trail
* Updated July 24, 2:55 PM
Two Big Island men have been arrested and charged in connection to multiple armed robberies, as well as other alleged crimes.
Hawai‘i Island police have apprehended and charged 25-year-old Travis Ka‘iliwaioli Yoshito Demello-Oda, of Hilo, with robbery and an array of other offenses following two separate armed robberies that occurred on the Shipman Beach Trail in Kea‘au. Police also charged 29-year-old Devin Lloyd Saragosa-Taoy, of Kea‘au with two offenses in relation to one of the robberies.
On Sunday, June 20, 2021, Puna patrol officers responded to a reported robbery that occurred on the Shipman Beach Trail. The male and female victims reported they were walking out from the Shipman Beach area when a man wielding a large stick confronted them. The suspect then struck the male once to the face, and struck the female to her head and arm, then took their personal belongings and fled the area. The victims were able to call police from the area and were met by responding officers on the trail, who hiked in to assist them. Both victims were transported via ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center emergency room, where they were treated and released.
The second robbery occurred on Wednesday, July 14, shortly before 3 p.m. In that case, two female victims in their early 20s reported to police that they were walking out from the Shipman Beach area when they were contacted by a man who asked to use their phone. After using the phone, the suspect returned it and continued walking ahead of the two women.
A short distance ahead on the trail, the same male jumped out from the bushes, pepper sprayed one of the females in the face and pushed her down, then physically overpowered the other female and forcefully removed her backpack, police said. The backpack contained various personal items, including a bank card, cellular phone, and the victim’s car keys for a vehicle that was parked in the parking lot at the trailhead. Upon returning to the parking lot, the victims found their vehicle had been stolen. Both females received minor injuries but declined medical attention.
The following week, at 4:20 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, Puna patrol officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle on Maku‘u Drive in Kea‘au. The vehicle was being driven by Saragosa-Taoy, police said. Officers determined the vehicle Saragosa-Taoy was operating was the vehicle stolen by Demello-Oda from the Shipman Beach Trail parking lot on July 14. Saragosa-Taoy was arrested for operating the stolen vehicle, and the vehicle was recovered. Detectives later obtained a search warrant for the vehicle.
After conferring with county prosecutors the following day, Friday, July 23, detectives charged Demello-Oda with two counts of first-degree robbery (during emergency proclamation), three counts of third-degree assault, second-degree theft, third-degree theft, two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle (UCPV), and unauthorized possession of personal confidential information. His bail was set at $30,000.
On Saturday morning, July 24, after conferring with county prosecutors, detectives charged Saragosa-Taoy with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and as a habitual property crime offender. His bail is set at $20,000.
Both Demello-Oda and Saragosa-Taoy remain in police custody pending their initial court appearance scheduled for the afternoon of Monday, July 26, in Hilo District Court.
Police reminded the public to always be aware of your surroundings. Take precautions against auto theft by removing keys from a vehicle, locking the doors, rolling up windows, and not leaving items of value or documents with personal information in the vehicle. Also, be vigilant and alert to suspicious persons and activity when parking vehicles, especially at parks, beach parks, and other remote parking areas.
The public is encouraged to call the Hawaii Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 if they observe suspicious activity.