Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen announced that a Hilo woman, 33 year-old Jessica Lancaster was charged in relation to two series of crimes. Lancaster was charged for a robbery incident that occurred on February 7, 2023 at the Kurtistown 7-Eleven convenience store. Lancaster was also charged in relation to the theft of a Toyota Tacoma from the parking lot of S. Tokunaga Store on February 4, 2023. At the time of her arrest, Lancaster was also arrested for two other unrelated bench warrants.
Lancaster made her initial appearance for the robbery case in Hilo District Court on Wednesday afternoon. Her bail was reduced from $5,000.00 to $2,000.00 over Prosecutors’ objections and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Friday.
On Thursday, Lancaster made her initial appearance for the auto theft case in Hilo District Court. Her bail was reduced from $35,000,00 to $7,000.00 over Prosecutors’ objections and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Monday.
As the first Complaint alleges, Lancaster was charged with Robbery in the Second Degree.
As the second Complaint alleges, Lancaster was charged with Theft in the First Degree (theft of a Toyota Tacoma) and Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle in the First Degree.
Robbery in the Second Degree and Theft in the First Degree, are both class B felony offenses and are punishable by a ten-year prison term or four years probation and up to eighteen months in jail.
The charges are merely allegations, and the Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The robbery investigation was handled by Puna Patrol. The auto theft investigation was handled by the Special Enforcement Unit, Area I Criminal Investigation Section, Hawai‘i Police Department. The cases are being prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Georgia Berrenberg and Kevin Soong.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment. Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300.