KAPAA, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 29-year-old Kapaa man who broke into a coffee shop Sunday was captured after trying to get away with a safe loaded on a skateboard.
It happened about 2:30 a.m. at Java Kai on Kuhio Highway. Surveillance footage shows the man, wearing a head lamp, rummaging through the shop.
"You could see the guy rifling around, mostly in our office area, going through files and just digging through everything," said owner Sean Garcia.
The suspect set off Garcia's alarm, and the alarm company called the owner. That's when he logged into his surveillance footage and was able to watch the man making his way through the shop in real time.
The burglar spent about 15 minutes in the shop. A metal safe was his big target, but that all went south once police arrived.
Surveillance footage shows him panicking and running into another room. The crook crouches behind the counter and disappears seconds later, leaving his backpack -- and the metal safe -- behind. Meanwhile, Garcia gets out of bed and drives to his coffee shop.
"It was a really weird sensation because I'm half asleep and of course it's our business so we didn't want there to be damage or anything stolen," said Garcia. "Then there's also that fear like, what if this guy has a gun or a knife?"
Police say the suspect, identified as Niles Valvieja, managed to escape the shop by climbing through a ceiling skylight. The suspect then used a roof access door to enter a neighboring business before he headed back to the roof of the building complex.
Using a ladder provided by Kapaa firefighters, officers were able to detain the suspect while he was hiding on the roof. He had the safe loaded on a skateboard, but left it behind when he fled.
Garcia is grateful no one was hurt, and that the crook didn't make off with any money thanks to his surveillance system investment.
"On one end it's a bummer and unfortunate this guy made this horrible decision he will now have to deal with, but on the other hand, it brought my crew together and all the customers," Garcia said.
Valvieja faces two burglary charges. Police say he caused roughly $5,500 in total damages.