Arrest made in purloined papers case

A suspect in a narcotics case was arrested on suspicion of theft when a stack of newspapers was found in a car he was riding in this week, according to a Kaua’i Police Department source.

Donald Rapozo Jr., 29, of Hanama’ulu, the subject of an all-points bulletin in connection with the theft of more than 1,000 copies of The Garden Island dated Feb. 15, was arrested Monday on theft charges, said Lt. Ale Quibilan of the KPD Patrol Services Bureau.

Rapozo was pictured on the front page of the Feb. 15 issue with Sheena Semana, 22, in a story about an earlier KPD drug bust where he was arrested.

Rapozo, who could not be reached for comment, was released pending further investigation on both the drug and theft charges.

When officers made a routine traffic stop of a vehicle in which Rapozo was a passenger in Puhi on Monday, they saw in plain view a stack of newspapers and placed Rapozo under arrest, as he was a suspect in the theft case, Quibilan explained.

The vehicle was seized and towed, and a search warrant was issued to further search the vehicle, Quibilan added.

Several regular customers were without their Feb. 15 newspapers. David Campbell, The Garden Island’s circulation manager, said 1,044 newspapers were stolen that day.

Rapozo may have taken the newspapers that day in an attempt to keep the information on the drug bust from becoming widely known.

Several Garden Island carriers and district managers reported being approached by persons they didn’t know in the early-morning hours of Wednesday, Feb. 15, with those unknown persons trying to purchase all available copies of the paper from the carriers. The carriers refused to sell their papers.

Locations between Kukui Grove Center and the Kapahi Menehune Food Mart had empty racks and vending machines early in the day on Feb. 15.

The day before the newspapers came up missing, someone claiming to be Semana called The Garden Island requesting a reporter not write a story about the drug bust.

The drug bust reported on the front page of the paper came about after a concerned citizen called in a tip about drug dealing occurring at a local hotel, according to an earlier county press release.

Members of the KPD Narcotics Enforcement Unit and Ice Task Force investigated drug trafficking of crystal methamphetamine, or ice, at a local hotel.

At the hotel, they arrested Rapozo on charges of promoting dangerous drugs, and for prohibited acts involving drug paraphernalia.

Also arrested was Semana, on charges of promoting dangerous drugs, and prohibited acts involving drug paraphernalia.

During the investigation, 93.8 grams of ice was seized. Police estimate the street value of the seizure to be between $9,000 and $10,000.

According to the KPD daily log, Monday, Feb. 20, Rapozo was arrested for theft and released pending further investigation.

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