Man charged with robbery, assault

The Maui News – A Pukalani man was charged with robbery and assault for allegedly punching a man in the mouth and taking his backpack during a confrontation last month at Hookipa Beach Park in Paia.

Keola Puu, 29, was arrested Sunday at the beach, police records show.

He was charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree assault and first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle.

According to a declaration filed in court to support the charges, the victim was sitting in his car in the upper parking lot of the beach park when Puu approached and yelled that the victim had “dusted” a van while driving through the lower parking lot. Puu allegedly reached into the vehicle, slapped the victim across the right side of his face and pulled him out of the vehicle.

Puu punched the victim once in the mouth, possibly while holding a flashlight, before taking the victim’s backpack, according to the declaration. The punch caused several of the victim’s teeth to chip and crack and he suffered a laceration to his lip, the declaration says.

Two friends who were with the victim got out of the vehicle and began running when they saw the van that Puu was in follow them to the upper parking lot. After realizing the victim wasn’t with them, the friends went back to the vehicle and found the victim bleeding from his mouth, according to the declaration.

During Puu’s initial appearance Monday in Wailuku District Court, he was released on supervision and ordered to stay away from the victim and his two friends.

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