East Hawaii News

Hilo man charged with auto theft after Tacoma stolen from repair shop

Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

A Big Island man faces multiple charges after a vehicle was stolen during the weekend from an automotive repair shop in Hilo.

Russel Britos

The Hawai‘i Police Department reports 18-year-old Russel Britos of Hilo is charged with:

  • First-degree unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle (auto theft).
  • First-degree theft.
  • First-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle (auto break-in).

His bail was set at $9,000, which was maintained during his initial court appearance Feb. 26 in South Hilo District Court. Britos remains in custody and a preliminary hearing was set for Feb. 28.

The charges stem from an incident just after 1 p.m. Feb. 24 during which a blue 2006 Toyota Tacoma was stolen from the vehicle bay of the repair shop in the 400 block of Kīlauea Avenue. The vehicle was last seen by shop employees as it was traveling north on Kīlauea.


Witnesses at the repair shop were able to identify the suspect as Britos.

During their investigation, officers received numerous calls about a blue Toyota Tacoma driving recklessly northbound on Māmalahoa Highway (Highway 19), just north of Hilo.

At about 2:30 p.m., officers received a call of a man with a knife fronting a residence in the 27-2000 block of Highway 19 in Pepe‘ekeō. The man was reported to be standing next to the stolen blue Toyota Tacoma and was observed removing items from within the truck.


Upon their arrival at the scene, Britos was the only person officers observed in close proximity to the stolen vehicle and he was subsequently arrested for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. The stolen truck was stuck in a mud pit in a pasture and recovered by a tow truck.

Britos was transported to the East Hawai‘i Detention Center in Hilo for booking and processing as detectives with the Hawai‘i Police Department’s Area I Criminal Investigation Section continued to investigate.

Anyone with information regarding this crime can contact Detective Christopher Jelsma at 808-961-2386 or via email at [email protected].


Those who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300.

The Hawai‘i Police Department also wants to remind community members to be vigilant when parking their vehicles, remembering to roll up all the windows and lock the doors. Valuables should be stored out-of-sight, preferably in the vehicle’s trunk to deter vehicle break-ins.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments