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Catalytic Converters Targeted in Big Island Theft Ring that Leads to Arrest of Four

Big Island police are investigating a rash of theft cases involving catalytic converters taken from parked cars—including a case that led to the arrest of four suspects. During the month of August, police received 10 reports of stolen catalytic converters in Hilo and one in Kaʻū. The vehicles reportedly observed at the scenes of some of these thefts included a white Honda sedan and a van.

Matthew Tilfas

Matthew Tilfas

On Sunday evening (August 28), Hilo patrol officers arrested two men and two women suspected of removing catalytic converters from cars on private property in the Wainaku area of Hilo. Thirty-year-old Matthew Tilfas of Pāhoa, 21-year-old Harold Rodrigues Hilo, 18-year-old Cecilia Kline of Mountain View and 34-year-old Chasity Pacheco of Mountain View were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass and theft. They were held at the Hilo police cellblock while South Hilo patrol officers and Area I Criminal Investigations Section detectives continued the investigation.

Matthew Tilfas was charged Tuesday (August 30) with first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree theft, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The other three were released pending further investigation.

Other areas where catalytic converters were stolen were:

  • The parking lot across the street from Hilo Medical Center
  • The University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • The UH agricultural complex on Komohana Drive
  • An automobile dealer in Hilo
  • The bayfront parking lot
  • The intersection of Puainako Street and  Komohana Street
  • The intersection of Puainako Street and Wilder Road

Police ask for the public’s help in reporting suspicious activity in parking lots or other areas where cars are left unattended. Investigators believe that the stolen items are being recycled or sold for cash. They remind the public that it is a crime to receive stolen property.

Police ask that anyone with information about these thefts or with information about anyone receiving stolen items call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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