Robbery suspect now in police custody

LIHUE — A man who police say robbed a bank, stole a truck, hopped a bus and robbed a pharmacy was arrested Friday afternoon, following an eight-hour manhunt.

Walter Mills was found near Kokee Lodge after bystanders reported seeing a male subject matching his description sitting in a parked vehicle in that location, according to a release from the Kauai Police Department.

He was taken into custody without incident.

Police say Mills escaped from Kauai Community Correctional Center Thursday night before robbing a First Hawaiian Bank Friday morning at around 8:30 a.m.

Then, at around 9:50 a.m., officers responded to the Kmart at Kukui Grove Shopping Center after a man reported that someone matching Mills’ description brandished a weapon then stole his Ford pickup truck from the parking lot.

A short time later, Mills, 43, was reported to have left the pickup near Sudz Car Wash on Pahee Street in Lihue, and fled the area on foot.

Police believe Mills then entered a county paratransit bus, brandished a weapon, and then instructed the male bus driver to take him to Koloa Road. There were no passengers on the bus at the time.

At approximately 10:20 a.m., police were then notified that Lifeway Pharmacy, in Koloa, was robbed by a male subject matching Mills’ description.

According to a preliminary investigation, the suspect then carjacked two additional cars and was eventually dropped off at Kalawai Park in Kalaheo, where he fled the vehicle on foot shortly after 11 a.m.

About 30 police officers and Air 1 joined in the search for Mills.

Mills is expected to be charged on multiple offenses relating to escape, robbery, kidnapping and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

In 2015, Mills was arrested on theft charges, stemming from two separate incidents.

On Aug. 9, 2015, Mills is accused of stealing a laptop from Walmart.

Then, on Sept. 19, police say he robbed Kapaa Pharmacy, wearing a Halloween mask armed with a Colt semiautomatic BB gun. According to court records, Mills demanded Oxycontin, oxycodone, morphine and methadone — in total about 1,900 pills.

Mills was arrested four days later after a minor car wreck. After obtaining a search warrant, officers with the Kauai Police Department found a a Colt BB gun, a plastic mask and several Oxycontin pills.

Mills was sentenced in July to about six years in federal prison for the robbery, three years of supervised release with conditions including drug testing.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in September, stemming from the Walmart incident. He will serve sentences concurrently.

How Mills escaped KCCC continues to be under investigation, said Toni Schwartz, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Safety.

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