The Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi recognized Officer Brian Souki on Thursday (December 22) as the East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” for December.
Souki was honored for solving an increase in the number of burglaries in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision in Puna after August.
According to Sergeant Charrise Wakita, police noticed an “alarming spike” in burglaries during the first week of September.
In response to a tip that a vacant property in Orchidland was being used as a “dumping ground,” officers encountered a woman standing near a van on a lot strewn with trash and abandoned vehicles. Officer Souki noticed a piece of a torn check dropping to the ground at her feet.
While other officers were attempting obtain the woman’s identity, Officer Souki called Dispatch but learned that no burglary or theft had been reported under the name or address printed on the check. Despite the dead end, Souki obtained a phone number of the woman whose name was on the check and learned that her checks had been stored at the home of her sister, who had a different last name, and that her sister had reported a burglary at her home during the previous week.
The woman on the vacant lot was arrested on suspicion of burglary and for an outstanding warrant. Further investigation led to charges of burglary, theft, habitual property crimes, promoting a harmful drug, four counts of unauthorized possession of confidential information, and 10 counts of forgery. Her bail was set at $195,000.
Sergeant Wakita praised Souki’s “keen observation skills, unwavering persistence, and diligence” in nominating him for the award. “Officer Souki’s apprehension and solving of this crime undoubtedly put a dent in the recent Puna crime wave and it all began with a piece of paper which could have easily been dismissed as trash,” she wrote in nomination papers.
In October, the Law Enforcement & Security Coalition of Hawaiʻi named Souki the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 2016 “Top Cop.” As “Officer of the Month,” he is also eligible for “Officer of the Year.”
The East Hawaiʻi “Officer of the Month” award is a project of the Aloha Exchange Club of East Hawaiʻi.