Five suspects arrested in series of Hilo store robberies

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Five people were arrested for theft and trespassing Wednesday in a robbery operation targeting shoplifters at a department store in Hilo.

According to Big Island Police, while working in partnership with store management, they carried out an undercover operation after multiple reports of shoplifting.

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Within a day, police had stopped a theft of over $1,600 worth of merchandise.

Three women and two men were arrested and charged:

  • Brittnay Timbresa, 33, of Mountain View arrested for second-degree robbery
  • Kaela Escalante, 31, of Hilo arrested for third-degree robbery
  • Haylee Nishijima, 21, of Hilo arrested for fourth-degree robbery
  • Bryson Sakai-Soto, 27, no permanent address from Hilo arrested for third-degree robbery and second-degree criminal trespassing
  • Branden Bellotto, 47, no permanent address from Hilo arrested for fourth-degree robbery

“A suspect, Britnay Timbresa, allegedly committed thefts over a period of four or five months, at times taking a cart full of items worth more than $1,000,” said officer Tyler Jelsma, who has organized the operation.

In an effort to deter thefts, police said they would continue similar operations across the island during the holidays later this year.

To report criminal activity, call the police non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311 or, in an emergency, dial 911.

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Those who prefer to remain anonymous can call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.