Kapaa bank robbed

KAPAA — A manhunt continues for the suspect behind a brazen mid-day bank robbery Tuesday in Kapaa.

Kauai County officials said they’re searching for a Caucasian male in his 30s who entered the Bank of Hawaii on Kuhio Highway at 12:53 p.m. in the historical district of Kapaa and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

A weapon wasn’t used in the robbery although the suspect referred to a weapon in a note he showed the teller, according to a Bank of Hawaii spokesperson in Honolulu.

The note included additional language that said nobody would get hurt if all of the teller’s money was handed over.

“Everybody is OK. Nobody was hurt,” the spokesperson said.

Police are seeking a man about 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He was unshaven and wearing a dark-colored pullover sweatshirt with a large white emblem on the front, blue jeans, slippers and a dark baseball cap.

“The teller never saw a weapon and surveillance footage didn’t show there was one, either,” the spokesperson said.

More than one teller station was open at the time. No other tellers were involved or ordered to take action. Only one other customer and about five staff members were in the bank, the spokesperson said.

As police investigated and searched downtown Kapaa, nearby merchants said they weren’t even aware there was a robbery.

“I didn’t know about this robbery until a customer came in and told me,” said Lyle Kuboyama, owner of Kapaa Liquor & Wine. He said he could recall only one other Kapaa bank robbery years ago.

Mohama Katoush, owner of Shell World Kauai across the street, said he was not aware of the robbery and assumed the sirens were emergency responders.

“The police run through here with lights and sirens three to four times a day,” Katoush said. “I thought it was an accident.”

Around 2 p.m., the police search spread to locations as far as Wailua and Marine Camp to the south, and to trails off the roundabout and bypass road to the west.

Several squad cars were parked on Hauaala Road as investigators searched properties and trails. As of 5 p.m. the manhunt continued.

Bank security cameras captured an image of the suspect.

“This really does go a long way with assisting police and in helping to get that description out there,” the spokesperson said.

According to county spokesperson Sarah Blane, KPD generally conducts the full investigation until the point of an arrest, when it’s decided if the case will be prosecuted at the federal or local level.

David Verden Williams, Jr., 35, of Sacramento, Calif., was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison in October, for the first-degree bank robbery of the American Savings Bank in Lihue on Sept. 8, 2011. And former First Hawaiian Bank employee Shelli Ornellas, 35, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for stealing more than $120,000 from a Kapaa bank ATM from 2008 to 2013.

Police asked anyone with information to call Detective Ken Cummings at 241-1686 or Police Dispatch at 241-1711. Anonymous tipsters can call CrimeStoppers, 241-1887.

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