KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man is in Honolulu police custody accused of breaking into a Kalihi business using a teenaged boy as his lookout.
Officers arrested Ferdinand Escalante, 27, and the 17-year-old boy on suspicion of second-degree burglary and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug. Both suspects allegedly had what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine in their possession at the time of their arrests.
The workers at O'Sung Auto Body and Paint are used to seeing damage -- damage on the cars of customers seeking repairs, not the type of damage left by burglars.
"At first I was thinking if they took anything from our customers' cars because we had so many cars here," Yun Chang, shop owner, said. "I just was kind of sick and hoping that nothing was missing."
Police say the break-in happened at about 5:15 AM Monday and was quickly thwarted. Officers took Ferdinand Escalante, 27, and a 17-year-old boy into custody.
Chang was told the accused may be linked to other crimes.
"Police said that there was a string of burglaries around the Kalihi area within the past few days, and that they've been waiting for them," he said. "As a matter of fact, one of the police officers said that he didn't sleep for the last three days on this case."
Kalihi police say they have seen a recent spike in the number of burglaries in the district. According to crimemapping.com, about 50 break-ins were reported in the past month in just a one-mile radius around Chang's shop.
Chang believes the ATM outside his office may have been a target. There were tools scattered around it.
But first someone sliced up his phone lines, paralyzing operations on what should have been a busy Labor Day.
"We had to shut down at 12 because we had no phone lines, we had no Internet," Chang said. "Who knows what we missed yesterday."
Chang says he likely suffered thousands of dollars in business.
"At least a couple thousand," he said. "But it's just sad that these guys are on drugs and they have nothing else better to do."