Arrests made in alleged kidnap attempt

Edward Martin

The Maui News – Two Kihei men were arrested for allegedly trying to lure two girls into a black Mercedes sedan Tuesday morning as they were walking to Lokelani Intermediate School, police said.

The car pulled up next to the girls at 7:18 a.m. as they were walking on Aliilani Place in Kihei to a bus stop on their way to school, police said.

The two men in the Mercedes tried to persuade the girls — a 6th-grader and a 7th-grader — to get in the car with them, police Assistant Chief Victor Ramos said during a Maui Police Commission meeting Wednesday at the University of Hawaii Maui College.

“The girls were terrified, so they kept on walking,” Ramos said.

He said the men continued asking the girls to get into the car until one man saw a parent nearby and the Mercedes drove off.

After the girls reported what happened when they got to school, Lokelani school resource officer Nichole Comilang located a car matching the description about a mile away, Ramos said.

He said police juvenile investigators worked to locate the driver, identified as a 45-year-old man, and his passenger. Both men were arrested.

The passenger, Edward J. Martin, 39, of Kihei was charged with two counts of attempted kidnapping. His bail was set at $40,000.

The driver was released pending further investigation, Ramos said.

“It was just really good work done by our school resource officers and Juvenile Crime Prevention Division investigators,” Ramos said.

Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu also credited the officers for the follow-up work they did to identify the suspects.

He said the incident was a reminder for parents to tell their children not to talk to strangers and not to get in a car with them.

The girls appeared to have followed that advice, Faaumu said.

“I’m so glad that the two of them are safe,” he said.