Quick arrests please purse-snatch victim

LIHU’E — A woman visitor from Lacey, Wash. who had her purse stolen from her

in a parking lot outside a Waipouli condominium last Tuesday is thankful for

Kaua’i police who arrested three suspects four hours after the heist.

The

incident involving Kristy Shanafelt, a 51-year-old school teacher, occurred at

9:35 p.m. Tuesday.

By 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, police—acting on information

provided by the victim and witnesses—arrested two adults and one minor

without incident on suspicion of second-degree robbery.

Shanafelt, who was

not injured in the purse-snatching, and her husband praised the police for

their work.

“The police officers and the detectives involved in my case are

great assets to the Kaua’i community and to the visitors who come to this

island,” Shanafelt and her husband, Craig, Shanafelt, 54, a retired former

administrator with the North Thurston School District in Lacey, wrote in a

letter to The Garden Island.

The woman victim also works for the school

district.

The couple were visiting Kaua’i for the 11th consecutive year.

They said they usually stay four weeks each time they come to Kaua’i.

Prior

to the incident, the couple had dinner with friends in ‘Ele’ele.

After

returning to their condominium after dinner, the couple got out of their car in

the parking lot and began walking to their unit. Because she had blisters on

her feet, her husband walked ahead of her, Kristy Shanafelt said.

“He

was talking and walking ahead when I saw these guys come up and split,” she

said. “I thought, ‘This doesn’t feel good.'”

As she made a motion to

protect her purse, one of the two suspects “grabbed and wrenched it off my

shoulder,” she related.

Craig Shanafelt said he heard a “blood-curdling

scream” from his wife. He thought she perhaps had stepped on a toad.

When

he realized his wife had been accosted, he ran after the suspect.

In the

meantime, a youth who was staying in the condominium heard the victim scream,

came out of his unit and saw the suspects get into their vehicle and drive off,

Kristy Shanafelt said.

The youth jotted down the make and model of the

vehicle and the vehicle’s license number and gave the information to

police.

Patrol officers D. Loo and G. Landagora responded initially, and

detectives Roy Asher and Marvin Rivera and two other detectives followed

through on the investigation.

Rivera and Asher were recently recognized by

police brass with solving a North Shore murder last month.

The adult

suspects in the purse-snatching were taken to Kaua’i Community Correctional

Facility, while the juvenile, 18, was released into Family Court custody.

The victim’s purse was recovered, but $80, some cosmetics and small items were

missing.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or

lchang@pulitzer.net

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