Retired Marine, off-duty police officer foil violent attempted home robbery

By ROSEMARIE BERNARDO | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (Tribune News Service) | Published: June 8, 2017

A retired Marine Corps sergeant major and an off-duty police officer’s swift actions Tuesday led to the capture of an intruder after a violent attempted robbery at a home in Kaneohe, Hawaii.

Police arrested a 41-year-old man on suspicion of first-degree robbery, impersonating a law enforcement officer and unauthorized entry in the first degree. Officers are continuing their search for at least two other suspects who were with the 41-year-old man.

This is the second time on Oahu in 20 days in which intruders impersonating Honolulu police officers forced entry into a home.

At about 9:10 p.m. Tuesday, at least three suspects pounded on the door of a home on Waikalualoko Loop, claiming they were police officers. Two women in their 60s live at the home.

When one of the women opened the door, the suspects pushed their way in while wielding a loaded rifle, a hunting knife with a foot-long blade, and a bat, said Dorsey Roberts, a retired Marine sergeant major who owns the property and responded to the attempted robbery.

The suspects then punched and body-slammed one of the two women. “I was sitting in my home office when I heard my neighbor scream,” Roberts said. He immediately ran outside to check on the women — who reside in the front part of the home, which has a separate entry — and saw three males clad in hooded sweatshirts and bandannas that covered part of their faces.

When Roberts arrived, the suspects dropped the rifle, knife and bat on the front lawn and fled.

Roberts called out for help to an off-duty police officer, who lives nearby. The officer responded and spotted one of the intruders. “I was able to grab (the suspect) by his dreadlocks, and pulled him backwards and slammed him to the ground,” Roberts said.

He pinned the man’s arm behind his back as the officer handcuffed him. Soon after, they saw the two other suspects in a light-colored vehicle, possibly a Toyota Camry, drive by. Roberts’ wife, Lilia, who also served in the Marine Corps, threw a glass dog bowl at the car, shattering its rear taillight as the vehicle fled.

“It just happened so fast,” Lilia Roberts said. She praised her husband and the off-duty officer for their swift response. “They were very brave. … They scared them. Everybody went running.”

“They picked the wrong house. They picked the wrong neighborhood,” Lilia Roberts said, adding that members of their close-knit community look out for one another and have an active neighborhood watch program.

Dozens of police including a SWAT team and helicopter soon responded in search of the other intruders. “The response was immediate. The police were fantastic,” Roberts said.

The 62-year-old victim had a split lip and jaw and back pain. Roberts said he took her to the hospital and that she was treated and released.

The woman declined to comment on the attack.

Dorsey Roberts said: “She’s a scrapper. She fought back and screamed and didn’t just take it lying down. If she had not screamed and fought back, I think this would have gone much worse.”

Though Roberts saw three suspects, police reported five suspects involved in the attempted robbery.

A previous robbery occurred May 17 at a Punchbowl home where three intruders impersonating police officers bound residents with tape and robbed them of cash and other personal belongings. Two men, Anthony Riley and Kahoku Tampos, were charged with three counts of first-degree robbery, three counts of kidnapping and one count of first-degree burglary. Tampos also was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.

Both Riley and Tampos pleaded not guilty to the charges at Circuit Court on Monday via closed-circuit video link from the Oahu Community Correctional Center. Judge Colette Garibaldi confirmed their bail at $200,000 each and set their trial for August.

The third Punchbowl robbery suspect remains at large.

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