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Police seek suspects in assault and robbery near homeless camp off Ponahawai Street in Hilo : Big Island Now

Big Island police are seeking information about a July 9 robbery that happened near the Hawai‘i County homeless camp off Ponahawai Street and the lower parking lot of HouseMart Ben Franklin Crafts in Hilo.

South Hilo patrol officers responded just before 3 p.m. Tuesday to a church in the 500 block of Ponahawai Street after two men working as survey contractors for the county reported being assaulted.

The men said that just prior to calling police, they were conducting drone surveying of the homeless camp when several men who looked to be homeless began walking toward them.

The victims reported that the men seemed unhappy, so they began loading their equipment into their vehicle in an attempt to leave and avoid confrontation. As the victims attempted to drive off, they were stopped by the men who surrounded their vehicle.

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The men questioned the victims as to what they were doing in the area. The victims informed the men about who they were and the job the were hired to do.

At this time, the men stated they didn’t care and began assaulting the victims while they were seated in their vehicle.

The victims were injured in their faces, with one getting a chipped tooth. One of the of the men reached in and took one of the victim’s driver’s licenses and drone pilot license. The two victims then drove off to avoid being assaulted further.

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The first suspect is described as a local man of Asian/Pacific Islander descent with a tan complexion, about 6 feet tall, possibly bald, bareback, wearing board shorts and sunglasses, with tattoos on his arms, stomach and chest.

The second suspect is described as a local man with a tan complexion, tall, about 200-plus pounds, wearing a gray shirt, with short hair.

Police continue to investigate. They are checking businesses for video surveillance and canvassing the downtown Hilo area for any witnesses who might be able to identify the suspects.

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Anyone with information relative to this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Jeremy Kubojiri at 808-961-2378 or via email at [email protected].

Those who prefer to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300.

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