A Hilo man is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday (September 10) to face charges related to the theft of ukuleles and government vehicles.
On the afternoon of September 9, the State Department of Agriculture reported that a white Dodge Dakota pickup truck had been stolen from state property on Lanikaula Street in Hilo and that the truck had rammed a chain link fence to exit the property.
Later that evening, 26-year-old Blue Kela of Hilo was observed next to the open driver door of a truck matching the description of the state vehicle. The truck had fraudulent license plates and visible marks that logos had been removed from the front doors. Police confirmed that the truck was the one belonging to the state and arrested Kela on suspicion of first-degree theft. He was taken to the Hilo police cellblock while the Area I Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.
Investigation revealed that Kela was also responsible for stealing two Jeep Cherokees belonging to the County of Hawaiʻi in August from parking lots on Aupuni Street.
Investigation also revealed that Kela was responsible for stealing six ukuleles from a Downtown Hilo store after damaging a door and breaking into the building on July 31.
At 4:30 p.m. last Friday (September 4), he was charged with first-degree theft, second-degree theft, second-degree burglary, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle, fraudulent use of license plates, two counts of criminal property damage and two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle. His bail was set at $53,000. His initial court appearance was Tuesday (September 8).
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon (September 10) in Hilo District Court.