Victim recognized robber as high school classmate

Rogelio Cabebe III allegedly flashed brass knuckles before stealing car


WAILUKU — When his car was stolen from him in a Kahului parking lot, a man recognized his high school classmate as the robber who made threats and showed brass knuckles before making off with the vehicle.

Rogelio Cabebe III, who is also known as Lio Cabebe, 21, was identified as the robber during his preliminary hearing Monday in Wailuku District Court.

Wailuku resident Mark Cabading testified the robbery occurred in the early evening of April 3 when he was in the Auto Zone parking lot next to Taco Bell.

“I was just cruising with a couple of my friends,” he said.

Cabading said a brown Honda Accord pulled up with two people inside, and one occupant got out of the car and approached Cabading.

He said he recognized the man as Lio Cabebe, a classmate from Baldwin High School. “I told him, ‘Howzit, long time no see,’ “ Cabading said.

Cabebe asked if he could try Cabading’s vape or e-cigarette.

Cabading was in his 1994 Acura Integra when he let Cabebe try the vape. “That’s when he started threatening me,” Cabading said. “He said, ‘Get out of the car. I’m going to take your car.’ I told him no.”

Cabebe showed brass knuckles, Cabading said. “I stayed in the car and kept telling him no,” he said.

Feeling threatened, Cabading said he took the key out of the ignition and got out of his car when another man got out of the car that Cabebe had been in and walked toward them.

Cabebe said to hand over the keys if he didn’t want the other man to come over, Cabading said.

He said the other man came up and punched Cabading on the right side of his face before Cabebe grabbed the keys, got in the Acura and drove off. The other man got in the Honda and left, Cabading said.

Cabading said his wallet containing his driver’s license and two debit cards was in a driver’s side compartment of his car.

At 8:30 or 8:45 that night, officer Nicolai Ariga said she was parked at Maui Veterans Cemetery in Makawao when she saw a car “swerving excessively” while traveling mauka before hitting a guardrail along Baldwin Avenue.

After turning on the siren and lights of her police vehicle to warn another vehicle on the road, Ariga said she went toward the crashed car and saw a man climbing out through the driver’s window.

She said one set of metal knuckles was found in the car, which turned out to be Cabading’s stolen Acura.

Cabading estimated the value of the car was $4,000 to $5,000. He said he got back his wallet, which was found in the car.

Deputy Public Defender Tyler Stevenson argued there wasn’t enough evidence to support some of the charges, including the third-degree assault charge. “There was a taller male who had struck Mr. Cabading that night,” Stevenson said.

Deputy Prosecutor Lewis Littlepage said Cabebe was charged as a principal or accomplice, making both men responsible for the actions of the other. Cabebe told Cabading to hand over his keys “if you don’t want my friend to come over here and hit you — and his friend came over and hit him,” Littlepage said.

“Mr. Cabebe knew what was going to happen,” Littlepage said.

Judge Kirstin Hamman found there was probable cause for the felony charges against Cabebe, who has no local address.

His bail was maintained at $81,000 on charges of first-degree robbery, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, second-degree theft, possession of a deadly weapon, unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, two counts of theft of a credit card and third-degree assault.

If he is convicted of robbery, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and second-degree theft, Cabebe could face mandatory minimum sentencing based on his conviction for second-degree theft in 2017, according to the complaint against him.

Cabebe was ordered to have no contact with Cabading and to stay away from the Taco Bell parking lot in Kahului.

He is scheduled to be arraigned May 1 in 2nd Circuit Court.

A second suspect hasn’t been charged in the case.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at