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Puna Man Charged in Hilo Bank Robbery

by Thunda

A Puna man, 52 year-old John McCrary, was arrested and charged with robbery, felony theft, and methamphetamine possession offenses stemming from a bank robbery that occurred on December 6, 2022.

The charges against McCrary stem from an incident reported on Tuesday morning, December 6, 2022, when Hilo patrol officers responded to a reported bank robbery in the 500 block of Kilauea Avenue in Hilo. Bank employees reported that a male suspect entered the bank and produced a threatening note demanding money. He then fled the area on foot with an undisclosed amount of US currency. No one within the bank was injured.

Hilo Patrol officers canvassed the surrounding downtown Hilo area looking for the suspect; however, he was not immediately located.

On Thursday morning, December 8, a Hilo patrol officer patrolling his beat saw a male party he believed to be McCrary exiting a big-box retail store on Maka‘ala Street, in Hilo, and walk toward a vehicle in the parking lot. Officers contacted the man, who was seated within the vehicle, and positively identified him as McCrary. He was arrested and the vehicle was recovered as evidence and secured pending execution of a search warrant. McCrary also had two larger-type wallets on his person, which also required a search warrant. 

McCrary was taken to the Hilo cellblock while Area I Criminal Investigation Section personnel continued this investigation.

Search warrants were later executed on the vehicle and on McCrary’s property, with detectives recovering a large amount of US currency, 14.4 grams methamphetamine, 28 grams processed marijuana, and ammunition.

Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen announced that as the Complaint alleges, McCrary was charged with Robbery in the First Degree (in the course of committing theft, threatened the imminent use of force against another person during the time of a civil defense emergency proclaimed by the governor and/or mayor), Theft in the First Degree (obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over the property of another, the value of which exceeded $300, with intent to deprive the owner of their property during the time of a civil defense emergency proclaimed by the governor and/or mayor), Terroristic Threatening in the Second Degree, Place to Keep Ammunition, Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the Second Degree (possessing over one-eighth ounce of methamphetamine), and Promoting a Detrimental Drug in the Third Degree.

The most serious offense, Robbery in the First Degree, is a class A felony which is punishable by a twenty year prison term.

McCrary is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Hilo District Court on Monday, December 12, 2022. He remains in custody in lieu of $103,150.00 bail.

The charges are merely allegations, and the Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was initiated by South Hilo Patrol and the arrest was made by Officers Greg Matias and Lam Doan, South Hilo Patrol. The felony investigation was handled by Detective Paul Mangus and members of the Area I Criminal Investigation Section, Hawai‘i Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Malate.

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.

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