Two men were charged Wednesday with the armed robberies of gas station stores early Tuesday morning in Kahului and Kihei, police said.
Bail was set at $100,000 each for Bronson Foster Benson, 21, who gave no local address, and Namon Kalani Parks, 31, of Waianae, Oahu. Each was charged with two counts of first-degree robbery.
The robberies occurred at 5:05 a.m. Tuesday at Port Town Chevron on Kaahumanu Avenue and at 6:05 a.m. Tuesday at Kihei Chevron Gas Station on South Kihei Road.
In both robberies, two men were seen at the businesses, with one remaining near the door while the other approached employees and brandished a handgun, police said.
In the first robbery, both men entered the store, with one remaining at the entrance doors while the other approached the counter, brandished a handgun at two employees and demanded money, police said.
After removing about $300 from the store register, the gunman and other man left and ran toward Lono Avenue, leaving the area in a vehicle, police said.
The gunman was described as 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall, 140 pounds and wearing a black long-sleeved hooded sweater and jeans. The other man was described as taller with a dark complexion and wearing a long-sleeved sweater, shorts and a ball cap.
About an hour later, two men matching the descriptions of the Kahului suspects robbed the Kihei Chevron minimart, police said. One man entered the minimart, brandished a pistol and demanded money from the register, while a second man stood just outside the entrance to the store, police said.
After the cashier handed the money to the gunman, he and the other man fled toward Jack in the Box restaurant, police said. An estimated $131 was stolen from Kihei Chevron, police said.
After tentatively identifying the suspects as Foster Benson and Parks, officers located the two at 4:58 p.m. Tuesday in a sedan in a parking lot at 1847 South Kihei Road, police said. A 20-year-old Haiku man in the car also was arrested, then released pending further investigation of robbery charges.
Police recovered the car as evidence in the continuing investigation.
The Criminal Investigation Division, along with Kihei patrol officers, the Crime Reduction Unit and Special Response Team responded and assisted in the investigation.
Parks and Foster Benson were arrested Nov. 1 in Kihei after a woman reported that a handgun was pointed at her when she approached a man who was using a baseball bat to smash windows of her son's vehicle on Waipuilani Road.
Police reported chasing and apprehending Parks and Foster Benson after they abandoned a vehicle they had fled in on nearby Kapuhau Place. Police recovered an airsoft gun and a firearm that were thrown into brush nearby.
Parks and Foster Benson were each charged with first-degree terroristic threatening in that case and released after posting bail.
According to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, Parks has 11 prior criminal convictions, including ones for first-degree robbery and kidnapping on Oahu in 2000. Foster Benson has seven prior convictions, including six for contempt of court and one for violating conditions of release on bail or supervision.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.