Robbery suspect in custody

LIHUE — The man who was arrested after police say he robbed the Rice Street First Hawaiian Bank Thursday was wanted on a $50,000 bench warrant for violating probation.

Norman Akana Jr., 42, has been on probation after a 2012 arson case, in which he is accused of setting fire to a victim’s property, causing more than $20,000 damage, said Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney.

Akana appeared for a hearing before Judge Kathleen Watanabe Friday on one charge of second degree arson, on a motion to revoke terms of his probation.

The matter was continued to give his attorney, Stephanie Char, time to meet with him.

Police say Akana walked into the bank Thursday at approximately 10 a.m. and passed a note to the teller stating that he had a gun and demanded money. He then fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to reports.

He was found Thursday around 8:30 p.m. at a residence in Niumalu.

Akana remains in police custody. Bail has not yet been set in the robbery case as the investigation remains ongoing.

He was arrested in June 2013 for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, refusal to submit to testing and reckless driving after police say he drove his pickup truck into the ocean.

According to police, Akana had been driving his truck along the beach, in an area known as Kitchens behind Wailua Golf Course, when the truck was struck by a wave and was pulled into the surf.

He was alone during the time of the incident. He had exited his Ford F-150 without injury by the time police and firefighters arrived at the scene.

Three tow companies were needed to pull the fully submerged truck from the water, according to police.

He has twice been placed on early work release from probation, the most recent being in January 2017, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

A status hearing on the arson case was scheduled for May 10. The prosecutor’s office will be requesting that he be re-sentenced to an open 10-year prison term on the arson charge, Kollar said.

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