WAILUKU - Citing the serious nature of the charges, a judge Friday kept bail at $500,000 each for two men charged with robbing gas station stores in Kahului and Kihei last week.
Attorneys for Bronson Foster-Benson, 21, of Kihei and Namon Parks, 31, of Waianae, Oahu, had asked that their bail amounts be reduced.
Defense attorney Al Albrechtson, representing Parks, said bail was "extraordinarily high."
Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds asked that bail be maintained for both defendants "for the safety of the community."
The robberies occurred Nov. 13 at 5:05 a.m. at Port Town Chevron on Kaahumanu Avenue and at 6:05 a.m. at Kihei Chevron on South Kihei Road. In both robberies, one robber brandished a handgun and demanded money from employees while another man stood by the door, police said. The robbers fled with $300 in the first robbery and $131 in the second.
Foster-Benson was identified as the gunman, while Parks acted as a lookout, Simonds said. Both men are charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, with Foster-Benson also charged with two counts of using a firearm in the commission of a separate felony.
Simonds said it's believed that the defendants committed the robberies "to obtain money to flee the island to evade investigation in another matter that had occurred earlier this month in Kihei involving a threat against someone with a firearm."
In the Nov. 1 incident, a woman reported that a handgun was pointed at her when she approached a vehicle that a man had gotten into after using a baseball bat to smash windows of her son's vehicle on Waipuilani Road, police said. Police recovered a firearm and arrested Foster-Benson and Parks nearby after a chase. The two were released after posting bail in that case.
If they post bail, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill ordered Foster-Benson and Parks to stay away from both Chevron gas stations and to have no contact with the employees who were working when the robberies occurred. Foster-Benson and Parks also were ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to report for random drug testing.
Trials are set for Jan. 28 for both men.