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Employees disarm man of rifle during robbery attempt in Hilo


Big Island Police are investigating a robbery Tuesday (February 23) at a Hilo pharmacy.

A man armed with a rifle entered the pharmacy, located in Puainako Town Center, and demanded drugs. A struggle ensued between the man and the pharmacy employees, who disarmed the man and, with the assistance of others, held him for police.

Police arrested Paul Santoro, 28, of a Puna address. He is being held at the Hilo cellblock pending investigation. He was also arrested for an outstanding bench warrant.

Two pharmacy employees were injured during the robbery. A female employee sustained an injury to the back of her head when she was allegedly struck by the suspect. The male pharmacist sustained lacerations to his hands. Both refused treatment.

The suspect complained of injury to his arm and was taken to Hilo Medical Center for treatment.

The pharmacy also sustained damages due to the struggle. The value has yet to be determined.

A loaded 30.06 bolt-action rifle was recovered at the scene. No shots were fired during the incident.

Area I Criminal Investigations Section detectives are continuing the investigation.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Lieutenant Mitch Kanehailua at 961-2252, or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

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