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Home Local News Police Arrest And Charge Hilo Man in Auto Theft Investigation

Police Arrest And Charge Hilo Man in Auto Theft Investigation

by Thunda

Hawai’i Island police have arrested and charged 18-year-old Russel Britos, of Hilo, with various offenses related to a Hilo auto theft.   

The charges against Britos stem from an incident on Saturday, February 24, 2024, just after 1:00 p.m., in which a blue 2006 Toyota Tacoma was stolen from the vehicle bay of an automotive repair shop in the 400 block of Kilauea Avenue in Hilo. The vehicle was last seen by employees of the repair shop traveling north bound on Kilauea Avenue. Witnesses at the repair shop were able to identify the suspect to investigating officers as Russel Britos.

During the investigation, officers received numerous calls of a blue Toyota Tacoma being operated in a reckless manner while traveling north bound on Māmalahoa Highway (Highway 19), just north of Hilo.

Around 2:30 p.m., officers received a call of a man with a knife fronting a residence in the 27-2000 block of Highway 19, in Pepe‘ekeō. The man was reported to be standing next to the stolen blue Toyota Tacoma and was observed removing items from within the truck.

Upon officers arriving on scene, Britos was the only person observed in close proximity to the stolen vehicle and was arrested for unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle (auto theft). The stolen Toyota was observed to be stuck in a mud pit in a pasture and was recovered using a tow truck.

Britos was transported to the East Hawaii Detention Center for booking and processing as detectives with the Area I Criminal Investigation Section (CIS) continued the investigation.

After conferring with the County Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday, February 25, Area I CIS detectives charged Britos with the following offenses:

  • First-degree unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle (auto theft)
  • First-degree theft
  • First-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle (auto break-in)

His bail was set at $9,000.

Britos remained in police custody pending his initial court appearance on Monday February 26, in South Hilo District Court.

The Hawai‘i Police Department would like to remind community members to be vigilant when parking their vehicles, remembering to roll-up all the windows and lock the doors. Valuables should be stored out-of-sight, preferably in the vehicle’s trunk to deter vehicle break-ins.

Those with information regarding this crime can contact Detective Christopher Jelsma at (808) 961-2386 or Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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