LIHUE — Richard Leibman, also known as the “Jesus Bandit,” has reportedly resurfaced.
A Princeville woman identified Leibman as the man she saw running out of her backyard Friday morning, wearing nothing but a diaper-like garment made out of a sheet.
A warrant was issued for Leibman’s arrest several months ago when he violated the conditions of his parole by failing to show up for a drug test on Oct. 1.
Shari Faustino may be the first person who has seen Leibman in person since he was released from custody last September.
“He was just standing in my backyard,” she said. “To see someone half-naked in my backyard — I was shocked.”
Faustino said she came out of the bathroom in her home on Aloalii Drive in Princeville last Friday and saw Leibman on her back patio, wearing some kind of a cloth wrapped around his body, “kind of like a diaper.”
Faustino and Leibman apparently surprised each other, and for brief a moment were locked in eye contact.
Faustino said she looked up to see a bearded man with dark hair, “staring at me in my window.” The gaze was broken when Faustino “kind of screamed a little bit.” Leibman took off running toward a neighbor’s backyard, and Faustino lost sight of him while placing a 9-1-1 call.
While waiting for police to get there, she noticed the pillows had been taken off her patio furniture and moved to a corner of the yard, where she thinks Leibman might have been sleeping.
Police arrived in a few minutes, according to Faustino. Apparently, they were already in the area investigating another report potentially linked to Leibman. Some members of a construction crew called to report signs of a person sleeping on the porch of a house in the neighborhood that they had been working on.
Faustino said she identified Leibman when police showed her a photo lineup of potential suspects, but by the time the officers arrived at her home, Leibman was nowhere to be found. Police searched the neighborhood and a nearby golf course and turned up no sign of the man, but Leibman likely did not flee the area entirely.
The next evening, Faustino said she was getting ready to get into her hot tub when she noticed some pillows had been taken off of her patio furniture and the cover was missing from her barbecue.
“OK, that’s kind of creepy,” she thought to herself.
Faustino woke up Sunday morning to find the pillows and grill cover had been returned to her backyard, the pillows once again stacked in the corner of the yard.
Although she didn’t necessarily feel threatened during the encounter, Faustino said it is frightening to have your space invaded by a stranger, especially one wearing a diaper.
“I know he hasn’t hurt anyone,” she said. “But now that he’s come to my house twice, it makes me scared sort of.”
In October, Kauai police issued a press release asking for the public’s help in finding Liebman.
Known to North Shore residents as the “Jesus Bandit” because he was often been seen sporting a long beard and wearing a robe, Leibman has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and a personality disorder.
He has a long criminal history including unlawful entering, burglary, theft, resisting arrest, escape and assault against a law enforcement officer. He is wanted on three, $50,000 bench warrants for revocation or modification of probation.
This isn’t the first time he has failed to show up for a scheduled court appearance. In February 2016, a bench warrant for Leibman in the amount of $10,000 was issued after he failed to appear.
He was later located by police in a Poipu parking lot and apprehended after attempting to scale a wall during a chase in which he was alleged to have kicked a law enforcement officer.
In 2016, Leibman escaped from the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe through an unlocked door, and was later captured after a foot chase.
Reports of an unidentified man sneaking around the Princeville neighborhood started about two weeks ago, when Kay Alexander returned from dinner at a neighbor’s home and realized that someone had burglarized her home in a strange way.
“I didn’t know you finished the coffee cake,” Alexander said to her sister, pointing to an empty tray in the kitchen sink.
But her sister hadn’t touched the cake, and it wasn’t long before the two women saw a slit in the screen door opening to the backyard. Underneath a neatly-folded flap of screen, muddy footprints on the floor revealed a shoeless intruder.
Alexander soon realized other items were missing from the house — ice cream and sausages were missing from the freezer, a pack of salmon was taken out of the refrigerator, a cushion had disappeared from the patio.
But what Alexander found particularly remarkable were the things that hadn’t been stolen. An iPad, sitting in plain sight on a living room table had not been touched. Other valuables were accounted for.
“He had the run of the whole house,” she said. “He could have taken anything.”
Alexander explained that even though she is glad nothing of significant value was taken, “there’s a part of me that feels a little invaded.”
“Whoever he or she is, they have a very good sense of taking care of things,” she said. “Having never met them, they seem — for lack of a better word — polite.”
Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce with the Kauai Police Department encouraged anyone who sees Leibman to call KPD immediately at 241-1711 and cautioned against trying to approach or apprehend him.
“Sightings are the best leads we have toward catching this guy,” Ponce said.