Trio of suspected car thieves arrested

LIHUE — Three suspected car thieves were arrested this week on Kauai.

Louis Rita, 25, and Paulina Ragudo, 20, were both arrested Thursday after taking two vehicles without consent.

In a separate incident, Kamron Cortez, 20, was arrested for stealing a car from the driveway of a home in Hanamaulu late Tuesday night.

The owner of the vehicle later located Cortez with the stolen sedan in Anahola and contacted police. When Cortez realized police were arriving, he attempted to flee the scene, and a brief struggle ensued between the vehicle owner and Cortez, Kauai County officials stated in a press release Friday.

Cortez was arrested for the offense of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle (UCPV) and third degree assault. He is currently on felony probation for 12 property crime cases, and while the auto theft is under investigation, he is being held at the Kauai Community Correctional Center on 12 warrants totaling $600,000 in bail.

Rita and Ragudo are suspected of stealing two vehicles in separate incidents over the past two months.

Both vehicles were left on the roadside to be towed after suffering mechanical breakdowns, but were stolen by the time their respective owners could recover them.

Officers located Rita and Ragudo Thursday on Haiku Road while they were attempting to paint one of the stolen vehicles. They were arrested for two counts of UCPV.

Rita is also facing additional theft and forgery charges in an unrelated incident in which she is suspected of forging checks belonging to his grandfather.

The county said the arrests are a result of continued efforts by the Kauai Police Department to deter a spike in property crimes reported islandwide.

All incidents remain under police investigation.

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