Cell Phone Theft Prompts Car Chase

Josh Longbottom happy to have his cell phone back.
Josh Longbottom happy to have his cell phone back.

(KHNL)  He wouldn't let them get away. A man, whose wireless phone was stolen from his car, got in the driver's seat and chased the suspects around East Oahu. Now, both suspects are in police custody.

Civilians chasing after suspects is something that H.P.D. discourages, but it seems nothing was going to stop one victim, a self-described geek, from getting his fancy phone back.

Josh Longbottom will tell you he's obsessed with his high-tech phone. So when he realized someone had broken into his car, while he was sightseeing in East Oahu, his adrenaline shot through the roof.

"I wasn't 20 yards from the car when the alarm on the car went off," Longbottom said. "And so I turned around, and I saw a silver mini-van and someone jumping in."

Police say two men were traveling around in a stolen van, breaking into cars in the area. That is, until they put their hands on Josh's phone.

"Technology is my life. I'm a geek," he said. "And I didn't care for my wallet or anything that got stolen. But I saw this fancy, my fancy phone with the mount, the GPS all gone, and it crushed me."

The Kailua man and his family jumped into their damaged Saab and gave chase.

"I never lost sight of the van," he said. "I pulled out and, by the time I got down to Sandy's, I was right behind them. I pulled up next to them with my hazards on, honking my horn. I was like 'pull over.'"

The suspects continued on. But traffic was backed up near Makapuu because of a stalled tour bus.

"I thought they'd just try turn around or something," Longbottom said. "Well, he went into the on-coming traffic."

The van ended up smashing into Robert Husain's rental car.

"When I saw other guys go after them, I got out," Husain said. "And I was pretty angry when I caught them. He was complaining about being injured, and I told them I don't really care."

The suspects face numerous charges.

"They were both crying, and apologized for doing it," Longbottom said. "And I asked them where my phone was," he said laughing.

In addition to the phone, police say they also recovered a moped and other property from within the stolen van.