Police arrest suspected jewelry thief after robbery at an Aiea store

HPD is investigating an apparent smash and grab that happened in Aiea on Saturday (Image provided by Paul Armbruster)
HPD is investigating an apparent smash and grab that happened in Aiea on Saturday (Image provided by Paul Armbruster)
Description of the four gold rope chains and gold cross pendant that were stolen (image provided by Paul Armbruster)
Description of the four gold rope chains and gold cross pendant that were stolen (image provided by Paul Armbruster)

AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A man has been arrested in connection to an apparent smash and grab that left the owners of a jewelry store in Aiea badly shaken.

Carlos Jesus Kauwalu, 30, was arrested and now faces charges of theft in the second and fourth degree, and criminal contempt.

The robbery happened over the weekend.

"It was so quick. I didn't expect it," said shop owner Paul Armbruster.

The suspect allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from Paul J. Armbruster Goldsmith in Aiea Town Square, according to police.

The European-trained goldsmith said he was helping customers when thief came in around 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, took a look around for about 30 seconds, then walked back out. He returned just a few seconds later and propped the door open with a hanger.

But Armbruster didn't realize it until it was too late.

Armbruster said the suspect slammed a heavy metal water bottle through a glass display case and grabbed at least four gold rope chains and a gold cross pendant.

"Slammed it down and everything flew," Armbruster said. "I thought to myself, 'Is he crazy?' And then I saw him grab. That's when I start running, my wife start running, my customer start running and we chased him up the hill."

Armbruster will be 74 years old in a couple of months. He runs the shop with his wife and daughter and says it's about an $8,000 loss.

"It hurts," said Armbruster. "I put in long hours and I hate when someone takes something away what he didn't earn."

"It's disrespectful," Armbruster's grandson, Brennen Marquez. "I mean he works hard doing all of this. He's here every day...and some days when it's just only him and my grandmother, it's an easy target."

Witnesses say the suspected jumped into a white Kia Soul with the license plate TBW 874, and drove away.

Kauwalu has been released pending investigation on some of the charges.

If you have any additional tips on the crime, call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

This story may be updated.

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