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Venezuelan National Faces Theft Charges After Attempting to Steal an Air Ambulance

August 30, 2021, 5:32 PM HST
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Gabriel Arjona-Molina

A Venezuelan national is facing theft charges after allegedly attempting to steal an air ambulance from Hilo International Airport last week.

The incident occurred on Friday, Aug. 27, at around 1:30 p.m. A South Hilo patrol officer was flagged down by a witness who stated a vehicle crashed through the fence at the airport, according to a press release from Hawaiʻi Police Department.

“The vehicle driver, later identified as 24-year-old Gabriel Arjona-Molina, reportedly parked next to a fixed-winged single engine aircraft, exited the vehicle, and attempted to manually spin the aircraft’s propeller,” the release stated.

Arjona-Molina then approached an air ambulance, Beechcraft King Air C90A aircraft valued at $1.5 million, parked on the ramp.

“He gained access to the aircraft via the pull-down hatch and entered the cockpit where he was able to start both engines before exiting the plane,” the release indicates. “Officers arrested him at the scene shortly thereafter and transported him to the Hilo police station.”

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On Monday, Arjona-Molina appeared in a South Hilo courtroom on charges of first-degree attempted theft, first-degree criminal property damage, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and first-degree criminal trespassing.

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During the hearing, the deputy public defender argued for supervised release or a bail reduction, which was denied. Arjona-Molina, whoʻs been on Hawaiʻi Island for two months, remains in custody on $37,000 bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 1.

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