Police: Different Minit Stop initially targeted

WAILUKU – Three men arrested in a robbery attempt Wednesday morning at Minit Stop in Wailuku had originally planned to rob another Minit Stop in Kahului but left because there were too many people in the store, police said.

A preliminary hearing was set for Tuesday afternoon in Wailuku District Court for two of the suspects, Joyner Recheungel, 25, of Kahului and Stanceford Kaina Jr., 23, of Wailuku.

A third suspect, Rowan Sombelon, 24, of Wailuku was released after posting a bail bond for $13,000 on charges of first-degree robbery and three counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.

Recheungel and Sombelon were arrested shortly after the 6:50 a.m. robbery when they ran from the store as police sirens were heard approaching, police said. Police said Recheungel had what appeared to be a semi-automatic pistol and Sombelon had a collapsible baton when they entered the store. Both were wearing hooded sweatshirts and masks.

Police recovered the weapons, including the pistol, which turned out to be a pellet gun.

Kaina, who was identified as the lookout and getaway driver, was arrested when he was stopped and ticketed for speeding on Honoapiilani Highway in Maalaea by a Kihei patrol officer doing enforcement as part of Operation SPEED, police said. During the traffic stop, Kaina received a cellphone call from a Wailuku police officer telling the suspect to turn himself in, police said.

Kaina’s bail had been set at $50,000 on a charge of first-degree robbery. But during his initial court appearance Friday, Judge Blaine Kobayashi increased bail to $65,000 after the prosecution also charged Kaina with three counts of first-degree terroristic threatening as an accomplice to the other defendants.

Kaina is on felony probation for first-degree burglary in a 2011 case for breaking into the bedroom of someone he knows in Haliimaile and stealing four oxycontin pills, according to court records. He was sentenced to 105 days in jail and given a chance to keep convictions for the burglary and fourth-degree theft off his record if he complied with court requirements.

On Friday, Judge Adrianne Heely kept bail at $65,000 for Recheungel, who is charged with first-degree robbery and three counts of first-degree threatening.

Deputy Public Defender Aisha Hill had asked for a reduction in bail, saying Recheungel had “an unprecedented number of people supporting him” in the 18 friends and family members in the courtroom gallery.

Hill said Recheungel, who was born and raised on Maui, has “not much else” on his record other than an animal cruelty conviction. In that case, he pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree animal cruelty in the killing of three cats with a bow and arrow at Iao Valley State Park in 2011. He was ordered to make a $1,000 donation to the Maui Humane Society and was placed on one year’s probation.

In court Friday, Deputy Prosecutor Lewis Littlepage asked that Recheungel and Kaina be ordered to stay away from the Wailuku Minit Stop at Main Street and Central Avenue, as well as the Minit Stop on Wakea Avenue in Kahului.

Littlepage described the Kahului location as the “site of the original planned robbery.”

Police Lt. Jayson Rego of the Criminal Investigation Division said surveillance video showed the three robbery suspects at the Wakea Avenue Minit Stop before the robbery of the Minit Stop in Wailuku.

Recheungel was ordered to stay away from the two Minit Stop locations, while Kaina was ordered to stay away from all Minit Stops. Both men also were ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to report for supervision and random testing if released on bail.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.