28-year-old Benjamin Jerin-Kealoha of Ocean View has been arrested and charged in connection with theft, drug, and traffic-related offenses stemming from an auto theft that occurred on Friday evening, January 20, 2023, at a car rental company near the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole.
Police received a report at 7:30 p.m. on Friday that a black Jeep sport utility vehicle rental was unlawfully removed by an unknown male party from the car rental business.
The following morning, Saturday, January 21, Kona patrol officers spotted the stolen vehicle twice being operated on Ali’i Drive and attempted to the stop the vehicle, however the vehicle operator sped away both times.
On Saturday evening, Jerin-Kealoha was seen operating the stolen vehicle at a shopping center in the 74-5000 block of Palani Road in Kona. Responding officers located Jerin-Kealoha and apprehended him without further incident.
Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation and recovered a glass smoking pipe with crystalline residue that tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine. Items suspected to be stolen from a residence in South Kona were also recovered from within the stolen vehicle.
After conferring with County Prosecutors Office Jerin-Kealoha was charged with:
- unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle
- first-degree theft
- third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug
- resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle
- driving without a valid driver’s license
- DAG violation
Bail for Jerin-Kealoha was set at $49,000. He made his initial court appearance on Tuesday, January 24, in Kona District Court.
Police ask anyone who may have information regarding this incident to contact the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3331.