Neighbors Tip Leads to Puna Man Being Arrested Stealing Solar Powered System

Big Island police have charged a 29-year-old Keaʻau man with various offenses stemming from a break-in Wednesday (October 24) in Puna.

Ronald Keiki Lopes Jr.

Shortly before 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, a 42-year-old Hawaiian Paradise Park man called police and reported hearing noises from a nearby residence at which the occupant was not home. Responding Puna patrol officers discovered Ronald Keiki Lopes Jr. in the house in the process of dismantling a solar powered system.

Officers also observed an ice pipe with residue and syringes that were visible on the front seat of the car Lopes drove to the scene.

Lopes was arrested and taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Criminal Investigations Section continued the burglary investigation and detectives from the Vice Section continued the drug investigation.

Thursday afternoon (October 25), after detectives conferred with prosecutors, Lopes was charged with one count of first-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree promoting a dangerous drug, and two counts of prohibited acts related to drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $65,000. He remains in the cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Lieutenant Gregory Esteban from the Area I Criminal Investigations Section credited the Police Department’s partnership with the community for the arrest of this suspect.

“Citizens are playing a more active role in protecting their communities and, as a result, programs such as Neighborhood Watch and Crime Stoppers are successful,” Esteban said. “Those extra sets of eyes have proven invaluable in effective police work.”

Police continue to ask that anyone with information on burglary activities contact either Detective John Rodrigues Jr. at 961-2384 or or Detective Royce Serrao at 961-8810 or

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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