Woman charged with theft, accused of stealing OCCC officer’s gun

Janelle Newcomb

An Oahu woman accused of stealing a handgun from Oahu Community Correctional Center has been charged.

Authorities say Janelle Newcomb, 35, stole an adult corrections officer’s firearm, which was left unattended in a unisex bathroom at the facility’s main entrance and reported missing Wednesday.

DPS initially said the gun was left unattended at approximately 1 p.m., while police documents said the theft occurred sometime between 11:38 and 11:55 a.m.

Police arrested Newcomb later that day, at 7 p.m., in Waikiki. She was previously identified by the Hawaii Department of Public Safety as a person of interest.

According to police documents, Newcomb “stole the victim’s duty firearm left unattended on the premises” and was subsequently charged with first-degree theft and two firearm offenses (ownership/possession of firearm prohibited and place to keep pistol or revolver). Her bail was set at $11,000.

Newcomb was a pre-trial detainee who was released from OCCC on Oct. 13 after her case was dismissed in court. She had returned to OCCC Wednesday to pick up her personal items.

DPS says it is currently investigating the incident and will not release any information on how or why the gun was left behind, a timeline for what happened, or the current status of the adult corrections officer, who police describe as a 58-year-old man.

“This situation is one that we take very seriously. A full investigation is being conducted so we can make sure safeguards are in place to prevent this from happening again,” Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda said in an initial statement issued Wednesday.

A department spokeswoman reiterated Friday: “Our internal investigation into the matter is in the early stages and is ongoing. Therefore, we won’t have a final outcome right away and would reserve all comment until after the investigation is completed.”

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