Man Arrested and Charged for Attempted Theft of Airplane in Hilo

Gabriel Arjona-Molina. PC: Hawai‘i Police Department

Hawai‘i Island police have arrested and charged 24-year-old Gabriel Arjona-Molina of Venezuela with attempted theft and other related offenses after he allegedly attempted to take an aircraft from the Hilo International Airport.

A South Hilo patrol officer was flagged down by a witness at around 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Police say the witness stated that a vehicle crashed through the fence at the Hilo International Airport. The vehicle driver then “parked next to a fixed-winged single engine aircraft, exited the vehicle, and attempted to manually spin the aircraft’s propeller.”

Police say the suspect, later identified as Arjona-Molina, then approached a Beechcraft King Air C90A aircraft parked on the ramp. “He gained access to the aircraft via the pull-down hatch and entered the cockpit where he was able to start both engines before exiting the plane,” according to police.

Officers arrested him at the scene shortly thereafter and transported him to the Hilo police station. 

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section continued the investigation and the suspect was subsequently charged with attempted theft in the first degree, criminal property damage in the first degree, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, and criminal trespassing in the first degree.

Arjona-Molina’s bail was set at $37,000. The value of the King Air C90A is approximately $1,500,000.

Arjona-Molina is a Venezuelan national who has been on Hawai‘i Island for approximately two months.

Arjona-Molina’s initial court appearance was Monday, where his bail was maintained and he is currently being held at Hawaiʻi Community Correctional Facility. 

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