‘Most Wanted’ Are Now Behind Bars

Don Chapman
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June 25, 2008
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Way to go, MidWeek readers! Thanks to you, the Honolulu Police Department and CrimeStoppers have accomplished a 100 percent arrest rate for the 10 Most Wanted criminals who appeared on our May 28 cover.

For the record, one of the 10, Moesolo Tuiloma, had died in prison but paperwork didn’t reach CrimeStoppers by the time we went to press, and the warrant for Mellisa Magbitang was subsequently recalled.

So we’re batting a solid eight for eight in ‘08.

In case you missed it, this year’s Most Wanted class were all involved in crystal methamphetamine - ice - in some way. As we said in the story, this is where ice leads, “first to a really crummy life and then to prison.” The case of Tuiloma - dying in prison - says it all. If there is a sadder, more pathetic way to die, what would it be?

By the way, since we began doing Most Wanted cover stories in 1995, we’re averaging about nine out of 10 captured. Yes, this is the one MidWeek cover on which nobody wants to appear - thanks to our readers.

As it turned out, I was attending the annual CrimeStoppers awards luncheon last Wednesday when CrimeStoppers coordinator Sgt. Kim Buffet shared the news that all of the fugitives were accounted for. It was a great feeling to have police officers, including Chief Boisse Correa, walk up and shake my hand and say thanks for what MidWeek does for our community.

The thanks here goes entirely to you, our readers. We work with CrimeStoppers to publish the story and photographs, but readers make the calls. Sgt. Buffet says that calls started coming in to CrimeStoppers immediately after the story was published, and that they received 35 tips that led to the arrest of the eight criminals by HPD officers.

Also of interest: At the luncheon Sgt. Buffet reported that in 2007 CrimeStoppers handled 968 tips that led to the arrest or case-closing of 268 criminals, and paid out more than $13,000 in rewards for anonymous tips that led to arrests. For the Student CrimeStoppers program, 85 tips led to 26 school actions and 64 arrests.

Kudos, too, to Ramsay Wharton of KGMB-TV, who also received an award at the luncheon. About half of her “Wanted Wednesday” criminals have ended up behind bars.

It’s a tough world out there, and CrimeStoppers does an outstanding job of removing criminals from our midst. All of us at MidWeek are proud to be associated with such an outstanding organization. In fact, each time we heard of an arrest of one of the Most Wanted, there were fist pumps in the office worthy of Tiger Woods.

Go ahead, MidWeek readers, give it a fist pump, too.

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