California couple hikes up Hawaii volcano to escape carjacking, robbery

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California couple hikes up Hawaii volcano to escape carjacking, robbery

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A California couple hiked up a volcano in Hawaii to escape an armed carjacker who “pointed a gun” at them, police say. 

The startling incident involving the 29-year-old female and 31-year-old male victims happened along the Piilani Highway in Maui on June 4 as the pair were driving a rented Ford Mustang, the Maui Police Department told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

“While driving, they were followed by a Toyota Tacoma with its headlights off, which they allowed to pass them,” police said. “Shortly after, the Tacoma reportedly came to a stop on the roadway, and the male driver exited, pointed a gun at the victims, and told them to get out of their car and start walking.” 

“The responsible male drove off with the stolen Mustang, and the couple began to walk but then hid behind bushes and boulders on the side of the roadway as the male stopped the Mustang and started driving back toward them,” police continued. “The male reportedly returned to the area, calling out to the victims and asking them if they wanted the car back.  He continued calling out and looking for the victims, during which time he fired at least one shot with the pistol, causing the couple to believe he was shooting at them.” 

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Suspect Christopher Helmer, left, and the summit of Mt. Haleakala in Hawaii. (Maui Police Department/Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)

Police say the couple later emerged from hiding and started hiking toward the summit area of the Haleakala volcano. 

“Eventually, nearly 24 hours later, before reaching the summit, the couple was helped by a group of hikers and park rangers to get to the visitor’s center,” the Maui Police Department said. 

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Haleakala volcano summit

The rocky 10,000 ft. summit of Mt. Haleakala on Maui.  (Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)

The alleged carjacker, identified as Christopher Helmer, 35, was taken into custody four days later without incident, according to police. 

“At the time of his arrest, Helmer was operating the stolen Mustang and had a loaded firearm,” police added. “Following his arrest, further investigation resulted in the recovery of additional evidence linking him to the robbery and the recovery of the Tacoma, which was found to be a stolen vehicle.” 

Haleakala National Park scenery

The Haleakala National Park ranges through five different climate zones. (Sergi Reboredo/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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Helmer is now being held on $500,000 bail on charges including robbery and carrying or possessing a loaded firearm on a public highway. 

Fox News’ Stepheny Price contributed to this report. 

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