Hilo man facing charges after reportedly breaking into vehicles on the Fourth of July

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A Hilo man is facing charges after reportedly breaking into a pick-up truck in the parking lot of a hotel on Banyan Drive.

On the Fourth of July at approximately 3:35 p.m., Hawai‘i Island police responded to a report of an active vehicle break-in.

Officers contacted the owner of the vehicle who reported that his vehicle’s driver-side window and door handle had been damaged. The victim went on to explain that the interior was ransacked, however, nothing appeared to have been stolen.

A witness to the break-in described the suspect as a local Hawaiian male who was bareback, barefoot and was wearing black-colored shorts. The suspect left the area on foot in an unknown direction.


Later, at approximately 4:59 p.m., South Hilo patrol officers again responded to the hotel parking lot on Banyan Drive, in Hilo, for a report of a suspicious male party, later identified as 31-year-old Makua Amituanai, loitering on the property.

Responding officers contacted a hotel security officer who reported seeing Amituanai in the hotel parking lot, who was walking around checking vehicle door handles to see if they were unlocked. The security officer then saw the suspect attempt to open the front passenger door of a parked, unoccupied, and unlocked pickup truck, and sit down on the front passenger seat.

The suspect was then seen searching inside the cab of the truck.

The security officer approached the Amituanai, and asked him to leave the area and that police would be called to report his actions. The 31-year-old exited the vehicle and fled the area toward the shoreline behind the hotel pool area.


The owner of the pick-up truck was later contacted and informed officers that his vehicle was entered without permission and that at least one item was missing.

Officers canvassed the area for the suspect who was located at the shoreline behind of the hotel a short time later. The male party was positively identified as the person who was observed to have entered both pick-up trucks.

Amituanai was arrested without incident for two counts of unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle. He was transported to the East Hawai‘i Detention Facility for booking, processing, and continued investigation by detectives.

During the investigation, officers were able to identify a backpack that was in the possession of Amituanai during his arrest, which was removed from a parked vehicle located in a parking lot on Keawe Street, in Hilo, that occurred on July 3 at approximately 11:11 p.m.


A search warrant was served on the backpack resulting in the recovery of the victim’s laptop and personal property, including several forms of identification.

On July 6, upon conferral with the County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Amituanai was charged with the following offenses:

  • First-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle (three counts)
  • Habitual property crime (three counts)
  • Second-degree theft
  • Third-degree criminal property damage
  • Unauthorized possession of personal confidential information
  • Third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug

Total bail for Amituanai was set at $183,000.

Unable to post bail, Amituanai made his initial court appearance on Monday in South Hilo District Court.

Police ask anyone who may have information relative to this investigation to call the police department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311 or Detective Jeremy Kubojiri of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section at 808-961-2378, or email at

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 808-961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00.

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