WAILUKU - A Kihei man, who was recognized on store surveillance video by a former neighbor, was convicted of burglarizing a Wailuku gun shop in an attempt to steal guns.
A 2nd Circuit Court jury returned the verdicts Thursday morning, finding Adam Blancarte, 32, guilty of second-degree burglary, attempted first-degree theft, second-degree criminal property damage and fourth-degree theft.
The break-in occurred at about 4:30 a.m. Jan. 20 when Blancarte ripped open a corrugated metal section of wall to enter Maui Ammo & Gun Supply, which was under construction on Eha Street in Wailuku, Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura told jurors.
She said Blancarte was able to disable the alarm system and went through a back alley, moving a umpster and eventually kicking or punching a hole in the wall of the business. Through the wall, he went into a bathroom and from there got into a bay area that was being converted into a gun safety classroom, she said.
Blancarte took a screwdriver and another tool used for taking apart guns, ripped down a motion detector and tried to hack through a deadbolt on a door leading to the gun sales office, Hura said.
"Behind that door are 24 handguns in a safe and 18 long guns in another safe," she said. Also in the store were 110,000 rounds of ammunition and 270 pounds of gunpowder.
Blancarte gave up on trying to break into the office and left the business at about 5:40 a.m., shortly before Alex Redeker showed up for work at Mid Pacific Pest Control, which is next door to the gun shop, Hura said. Both businesses are owned by Redeker's father, Mark Redeker.
It wasn't until about 2:30 that afternoon that Alex Redeker discovered the more than $1,500 damage to the gun store.
He was reviewing surveillance video of the outside area during the break-in when Mid Pacific employee Scott Verber recognized his former neighbor Blancarte as the burglar.
"He was familiar with his body language and characteristics," Hura said during opening statements to jurors.
In the days before the break-in, Blancarte had been seen at the business. Once he was in his blue truck with California license plates parked at the store. Another time, he parked the truck up the street and walked into the gun store construction area, first asking about buying ammunition and guns, then asking about the project contractor, Hura said.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Matthew Padgett said Blancarte had approached the shop trying to find work, but that didn't mean he returned the day the business was burglarized.
There were no eyewitnesses to the burglary, Padgett said, and no fingerprints or forensic evidence. "The only thing that they have got is some videotape," Padgett said.
While the videotape showed the outside of the business, he said there were no photos of anyone inside.
The screwdriver and other tool were found outside afterward, Padgett said.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours Thursday morning before reaching the verdicts.
"We thank the jury for its service," Hura said afterward.
Blancarte is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 15. The most serious conviction, for attempted first-degree theft, carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
After being arrested last month on a warrant alleging he violated conditions of his bail, Blancarte is being held at the Maui Community Correctional Center in lieu of $100,000 cash-only bail.
Judge Joseph Cardoza presided over the trial.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.