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Stolen catalytic converter found in man’s belongings, police say

WAILUKU — A stolen catalytic converter and tools were found in a search of a duffel bag possessed by a man who was arrested Wednesday morning in Kihei, police reported.

Ryan Okamura, 35, of Wailuku was charged with second-degree theft.

He had a reciprocating saw and a black duffel bag with a metal pipe partially protruding from it when police made contact with him at 4:24 a.m. Wednesday at Alanui Ke Alii and Liloa Drive, according to a declaration filed in court to support the charge. Four minutes earlier, a man called police to report the sound of a power tool cutting and grinding coming from Alanui Ke Alii and seeing sparks coming from a white minivan, the declaration said. The caller reported seeing a man wearing dark clothing walking toward South Kihei Road.

After detaining Okamura, police obtained a warrant to search the duffel bag, which contained the catalytic converter and tools, according to the declaration. The catalytic converter, valued at $1,472, was matched to a white Honda Odyssey registered to a Kihei man.

During Okamura’s initial appearance Thursday in Wailuku District Court, Deputy Prosecutor Karen Droscoski asked for bail to be maintained at $5,000 for the defendant.

She said Okamura has prior convictions for second-degree theft, third-degree assault, nine counts of contempt of court, two counts of failure to appear, driving without a license, driving under the influence of an intoxicant, third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and a liquor violation.

In a pending case, he is charged with first-degree burglary, first-degree unauthorized entry into a dwelling, second-degree theft and three counts of habitual property crime.

Deputy Public Defender William Pannell asked for bail to be reduced to $1,000 for Okamura, who works part time doing landscaping.

Judge Blaine Kobayashi kept bail at $5,000.

“Given the defendant’s extensive criminal record, including theft charges, the fact that he’s pending trial for yet another theft-related charge, the state’s request is reasonable and justified under the circumstances,” Kobayashi said.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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