WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - It happened like that. A moment of bad timing that cost an elderly woman her family heirlooms.
Here's the scenario a 76 year old woman was all packed up to go to the airport. She has a big heavy suitcase, a carryon and a tote bag. She struggles with the heavy suitcase when the elevator closes and the other two bags go back up without her. That's where a thief happened to be waiting.
"This is the elevator he took the stuff from," said Manny Cabral, Operations Supervisor for the Wailana at Waikiki. "Just by chance the guy must have hit the elevator key and the elevator door opened and he looked right in and took the stuff out."
It all went down Tuesday at the Wailana at Waikiki building. Instead of turning in the bag the man took it. Inside was rings, necklaces and bracelets made of jade, gold, diamonds, emeralds and pearls, the victim tells us. It was all worth $100,000 but more important is the sentimental value. Most of it was given to her by her husband who passed away five years ago. Some of it was also inheritance from an aunt.
The victim lives half the year in Hawaii and half on the mainland. She was going to live on the mainland for the extended stay which is why she was taking all her valuables with her.
"That kind of stuff you can never replace, it's irreplaceable from the family belongings. They gave it to her. She was collecting through the years so it's kind of hard to replace," said Cabral.
Fortunately the building has surveillance. They printed out the suspect's picture and gave it to the five maintenance workers in the building. Two days later they spotted him.
"When we saw him wearing the same clothes, the same shirt, the same pants carrying the same backpack, just came right back to the building," said Cabral.
The first worker saw him in the coffee shop. A second spotted him walking by the front garden. At the same time two workers tracked him from the ninth floor.
"They saw him walking over there," said Cabral.
They all kept in touch via radio and finally cornered the guy. Police came and arrested 28 year old Keith Rozelle on theft charges.
The victim says it wouldn't have happened if the building staff wasn't worth their weight in gold.
"The good part about it is as a team we worked because they were on top of the top floors and we were down on the ground level going around the block and they kept radioing us, he's going this way, he's going this way so we would surround him," said Cabral. "All of our maintenance guys over here they really go out of their way to help out."
The victim says she is supposed to go to all the local pawn shops in the area with a police officer to try and spot the jewelry.