Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Man Arrested and Charged for Attempted Theft of Airplane at Hilo International Airport (PHTO)

Gabriel Arjona Molina

Hawai‘i Police Department
Criminal Investigations Division – Area I
Captain Reed K. Mahuna
Phone: (808) 961-2251
Report No.: 21-11270

Media Release

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 attempted to take an aircraft from the Hilo International Airport.

On Friday August 27, 2021, around 1:30 p.m., a South Hilo patrol officer was flagged down by a witness who 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. 

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. 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 today where his bail was maintained and he is currently being held at Hawaii Community Correctional Facility. 


  1. we've had auto security systems as standard equipment for years, guess not so for multi million $ aircraft.

  2. And he appears in the photo to be generally pleased with himself.

  3. The result of a well thought out, free for all border policy .. no doubt. How these idiots can figure out how to start a turbine is beyond me. Hot starts no doubt with resultant hot section inspections .. $150,000 apiece?

    1. Apparently, being a pilot isn't that hard...just sayin'.

  4. Well, he can read a checklist…

  5. Claiming $1,500,000 for, at most, a one million dollar airplane? Who’s scamming who?
    And just where was he planning to fly this plane? Venezuela?

  6. Court documents reveal he told officers he always wanted to be a pilot and that he has the "cure for cancer." according to KHON:

    His Facebook page has posts that show him running a food business in South Carolina in 2018. Must have gotten off track since then.

  7. Hope he gets the help he needs.

    1. The "help he needs" is confinement followed by deportation.


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