Another violent purse snatching in Waikiki prompts call for greater police presence

Published: Nov. 27, 2019 at 7:05 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the latest flagrant crime in Waikiki, a 29-year-old visitor was pistol whipped Monday night while trying to protect his mother during a violent purse snatching.

The incident that occurred about 10:30 p.m. is the latest in a string of robberies this month in the state’s top tourist destination.

The victims in Monday’s crime were visiting from Japan.

Sources say the two had almost made it to their hotel on Kanekapolei Street when a white sedan with four men pulled up.

Two suspects armed with handguns snatched the 63-year-old woman’s bag, dragging her to the ground. When her son stepped in to help, he was cracked in the face with a handgun.

Paramedics took them both to the Queen’s Medical Center for treatment.

The recent rash of robberies is something Robert Finley, chair of Waikiki’s Neighborhood Board, has been following very closely.

“Having people attacked and people robbed by a very organized group of people is very disheartening,” Finley said.

“When we have crimes against Japanese tourists it reflects right back to Japan. And that’s our heart blood of our tourism industry right now.”

Police records show that since June Waikiki has averaged six robberies a month.

But already, this November there’s been 11.

The majority of those robberies occurred on side streets within a few blocks of each other.

Finley said that Seaside Avenue appears to be a hotspot because of several empty buildings and the fact that it’s dimly lit at night.

“And on Kānekapōlei we’ve got all the construction going on,” he said.

On Nov. 15, in another violent robbery, a woman was dragged to the ground by a man who ripped her bag off of her shoulder at the corner of Liliuokalani Avenue and Ala Wai Boulevard.

Surveillance video revealed the robbery was actually a well-orchestrated crime.

Police say criminals scouted the women as the drove by. After pulling over, the robber waited until the coast was clear before moving in for the attack.

“If it goes on unanswered it’s going to keep occurring,” said Cody Stiles, who’s visiting from Canada.

He actually saw the commotion at the scene of the robbery last night.

“I’m glad nobody was shot," he said. "But it’s unfortunate that you have individuals that are going to pick people out and make them a victim.”

Finley said the crimes warrant a greater police presence in Waikiki.

“I don’t see how we can stop this unless we add a lot more police officers,” he said.

That’s a tall order when the department’s in the midst of a major shortage ― down more than 200 officers.

The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii confirms it’s assisting both victims in Monday night’s robbery.

If you have any information on the case, contact Honolulu CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

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