press release - 03171601

Alleged Con Man


Alleged Con Man

Stephen Keawe Kekuewa, 44



Stephen Keawe Kekuewa, 44



Sheriff's Office Issues Warning About Alleged Con Man and Looks to Identify Additional Victims


Santa Maria - March 17th, 2016

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about an alleged con man who is suspected of stealing jewelry and property from women in Santa Barbara County.  44-year-old Stephen Keawe Kekuewa who usually goes by Keawe or the nickname “Pineapple” is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office for allegedly using various scams to trick women into inviting him into their home and then using the opportunity to steal from them. The Sheriff’s Office is aware of at least five cases and believes there are more victims both in and out of Santa Barbara County.  While the case is being sent to the DA’s Office for review and filing of charges, Sheriff’s deputies want to prevent anyone else from becoming a victim and to locate anyone who may have already been victimized.


Sheriff’s deputies, through the course of the investigation, have learned that Kekuewa is reported to be a very suave and skilled story teller. He is reported to often meet women at local bars telling them he is a former Navy SEAL and the owner of a company doing lighting and “grip work” in the movie industry.  He also claims to be the owner of various high-end properties and ranches around the county including an alleged property next to the Reagan Ranch.  In some cases, Kekuewa has even given the women stolen jewelry to help build confidence.  Kekuewa is reported as being a transient and living out of his vehicle. 


Once Kekuewa earns the trust of women and they invite him into their residences, he makes convenient excuses to spend the night, come and wash his clothes, or offers to do handyman work around the property to justify his continuing presence.  While doing so, Kekuewa begins pilfering their jewelry and other property.  Kekuewa is also believed to have temporarily removed door locks from women’s residences in order to have locksmiths make keys for him to use later. He is believed to commonly enter these residences later when the women are gone in order to sleep on the floor, wash his clothes, and pilfer additional items.  Kekuewa has also been known to take women to the residences where he was working as a handyman, while the owners were gone, and claimed it was his home.


On March 10, 2016 the Sheriff’s Office cited Kekuewa for being an unlicensed driver, expired vehicle registration in excess of one year, and for displaying false registration tabs.  His black 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe was impounded.  The same day Kekuewa allegedly called a woman he recently met from Fresno and told her his house burned down that night with his vehicle inside.  He convinced her to have family members drive to Santa Maria to pick him up and take him to Fresno.  Fortunately she was previously identified as a possible victim and contacted by deputies who learned he was there in the residence at that moment.  She was warned about Kekuewa’s method of operation, to which she voiced immediate concern for her safety.  Deputies dispatched Fresno Police Department officers to the residence and they stood by while Kekuewa collected his items and left.


If you have information regarding this case, if you have received any gifts from Kekuewa or believe you may be a victim, you are asked to call the Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip-line at 805-681-4171.


For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover


Business Hours: (805) 681-4100

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