Hawaii island police charge 2 suspects in 2 Keaau trail robberies

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Jul. 25—Hawaii County police have charged two Puna men in connection with two armed robberies on the Shipman Beach Trail in Keaau.

Travis Demello-Oda, 25, of Hilo, was charged with robbery and other offenses in two separate cases.

The first robbery occurred June 20 on Shipman Beach Trail when a man and woman reported being confronted by a man with a large stick.

He hit the woman on her head and arm, then took her belongings and fled.

They called police and responding officers met them on the trail and had them transported by ambulance to the Hilo Medical Center emergency room, where they were treated and released.

The second robbery occurred July 14 shortly before 3 p.m. Two women in their 20s reported that a man asked one of the women to use her phone. The man, after using it, returned the phone and walked ahead of the women.

A short distance later, the man then allegedly jumped out of the bushes and pepper sprayed one of the women, pushed her down, then forcefully removed the other woman's backpack, which contained keys to her car parked at the trailhead parking lot, as well as her cellphone and bank card.

When they returned to the parking lot, the car was stolen, police said.

The two women received minor injuries, and declined medical attention.

During a traffic stop on Thursday, patrol officers stopped a vehicle driven by Devin Saragosa-Taoy, 29, of Keaau.

The officers determined the car was the one stolen by Demello-Oda July 14 from the Shipman Beach Trail parking lot.

Police arrested Saragosa-Taoy for driving a stolen vehicle.

Detectives conferred Friday with county prosecutors, then charged Demello-Oda with two counts of first-degree robbery (during emergency proclamation ), three counts of third-degree assault, second-degree theft, third-degree theft, two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and unauthorized possession of personal confidential information. His bail was set at $30, 000.

Saragosa-Taoy was charged today, after conferral with prosecutors, with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and as a habitual property crime offender. His bail was set at $20, 000.

They are scheduled to appear Monday afternoon for their initial appearance in Hilo District Court.

Police urge the public to be aware of their surroundings, take precautions against auto theft by removing keys from a vehicle, not leaving items of value or documents with personal information in the vehicle, and to be vigilant and alert to suspicious persons and activity.

The public is urged to call Hawaii County police at 935-3311 if they see suspicious activity.

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