Police manhunt paralyzes Manoa neighborhood

Published On: May 03 2013 08:57:16 PM HST   Updated On: May 03 2013 10:44:13 PM HST

Honolulu police searched Manoa throughout the day Friday for a suspected car thief, paralyzing parts of the neighborhood for hours.

Around 3 p.m., the normally calm scene at the Waioli Tea Room and Bakery turned into a scene of chaos.

"We had a lot of cops up here and helicopters going overhead," said Brian Jahnke, manager of Waioli Tea Room and Bakery.

Jahnke said officers told them to stay inside, while they shut down roads in the area. "They wanted to keep the back doors locked, especially because it leads to the jungle in back."

That's where police focused their manhunt for the suspected car thief, wearing bulletproof vests and aided by search dogs.

Officers also patrolled much of Manoa Valley all day, telling residents to also stay indoors.

The manhunt started just after 7 a.m., when an officer spotted a Honda Civic matching the description of a stolen car and followed it into the old Paradise Park. The driver ditched the car and took off running, prompting a massive manhunt in the park.

Lyon Arboretum employee Bronson Yadao said, "All I know is about 15 to 20 cop cars I've been counting ever since I got here."

The search caused police to shut down Manoa Road, the only way in and out of the Lyon Arboretum, Manoa Falls Trail and Treetops Restaurant. The closure short-circuited a Hawaii Electrical Retirees Association party.

"Supposed to be from 10 to 2, but right now we don't know," said retiree Walter Ahitomi. "But the food is already cooked already."

When an extensive search of the area turned up empty, guests were allowed in just before 11 a.m.

The suspect is described as a man in his early 20s, wearing a black shirt and gray shorts with a fair complexion. Anyone with information is asked to call police.


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