Hawai‘i police officer honored for work solving Puna burglary

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James Sanborn of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawai‘i and Officer Taylor Cruz. Photo Courtesy: Hawai‘i Police Department

For his efforts in solving a burglary investigation in Pāhoa, Hawai‘i Police Department Officer Taylor Cruz was honored as Officer of the Month for October 2022 by the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawai‘i during a ceremony in Hilo on Thursday, Jan. 19.

A patrol officer with just over two years of experience, Puna Patrol Officer Cruz responded to an active burglary in the Nanawale subdivision in Pāhoa, on Oct. 8, 2022. The victim reported that an unknown masked male and female forcibly entered his residence and removed his surveillance camera. The pair then took the keys to his vehicle and fled the area after the victim gave chase.

Reviewing the surveillance footage, Officer Cruz determined that the female suspect was known to him and, that based on his past contacts with her, he also suspected he knew the identity of the masked man as well.

Upon contacting the female suspect and advising her of her rights, Officer Cruz quickly established a rapport with her and was able to get the female suspect to identify the male suspect, according to police. He learned that the male suspect was in fact the same man that Officer Cruz initially suspected.

Continuing the interview with the female suspect, he was able to obtain a full confession from her, including her involvement in the crime. She also revealed other crimes committed by her accomplice, including another burglary that included the theft of a firearm.

With this new information, police were able to take the male suspect into custody.

The female suspect was charged with burglary and one count of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. The male suspect was ultimately charged with burglary, two counts of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, and ownership/possession prohibited of ammunition.

Every month the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawai‘i honors a police officer in East Hawai‘i as their officer of the month. Officers are nominated by their supervisors from the police districts in Area I, including Hāmākua, North Hilo, South Hilo, and Puna, and a winner is selected. All officers selected for Officer of the Month are eligible to be selected as the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawai‘i Officer of the Year.


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