WAIPIO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two armed men who tried to rob the Zales Jewelry store in Waikele are still on the loose Sunday night. The brazen crime scared shoppers, and also caused concern among residents who live in the neighborhood where police found the getaway car.
Ron Matsuura had just gotten home when he heard commotion outside and went to investigate. He said, "We saw the smoke billowing and you could see the reflection on the trees the house, turning orangey, so I knew oh, there's a fire." He spotted the getaway car abandoned and engulfed in flames.
He furthered, "They must've known this area to come and just leave the vehicle, dump the vehicle, and do what they did, which they had the time frame, and just disappear, and the brazen act prior that they committed."
Police say two masked men stormed into Zales at the Waikele Premium Outlets at around 8:40 p.m. Saturday night. One of them struck several display cases with a hammer, trying to reach the jewelry inside. When that failed, the second suspect reportedly fired shots at the display cases. The suspects eventually drove off empty-handed, and ended up in Waipio. They allegedly set the stolen vehicle on fire in a neighborhood on Lelepua Street.
Matsuura was the first to see the burning vehicle: "I just took initiative to start watering down after I assessed where the flames were situated; rear passenger side of the vehicle. My concern at that time was possible gas explosion."
When firefighters showed up at the scene, they briskly extinguished the flames, but the suspects got away. Another resident, Blake Tsuha, expressed, "I'm a little surprised. Nothing like this that I know of has happened around here before." The area is known as a safe neighborhood, but the crime has left a mark on the community. It's left people questioning the security of the tight knit area.
Tsuha commented, "I have a family who lives right up the street.There's a lot of kids in this area, so I'm a little worried if something like that were to happen again."
Their apartment complex used to have a Crime Watch team, which neighbors say could have made a difference. Matsuura remarked, "Should be in a sense a rude awakening, everybody starts opening their eyes, and get more involved." Involved in preventative measures, to keep this kind of crime from happening again in their neighborhood.