WAILUKU - A 36-year-old man was sentenced Wednesday to a one-year jail term for stealing a car from someone who had helped him.
"Here's a person who let you stay with him and you repay him by stealing his car, and you get involved in a hit-and-run accident," 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Abel Rodrigues III. "He was just being a friend to you and you didn't treat him very friendly."
Rodrigues also was placed on five years' probation.
He had pleaded no contest to unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle for the May 3 theft of the 2003 black Audi convertible.
The car had been parked at a business on South Kihei Road with its keys in the ignition, according to court records. After being stolen, the car was involved in a hit-and-run collision at Rainbow Mall in Kihei. Police located the car at 11:35 that night on the shoulder of Ohukai Road, with Rodrigues behind the wheel.
Following terms of a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution, Loo said that after Rodrigues spends nine months in jail, he could be released into a long-term residential drug treatment program.
"I do have a pretty serious drug problem," Rodrigues said in court.
He has already spent nearly five months in jail, attorneys said.
In another sentencing Wednesday, a 20-year-old Wailuku man was ordered to pay $1,396 in restitution for depositing two fake money orders into a credit union account, then withdrawing the funds last year.
Makanaapuakea Robins was given credit for three days he previously spent in jail. He had pleaded no contest to second-degree theft and two counts of second-degree forgery.
"I'll do whatever is needed to make things right," Robins said in court.
Deputy Public Defender William "Pili" McGrath said Robins works and has paid back a portion of the money to the bank.
While there has been an ongoing scam involving fake postal money orders sent to people, Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds said Robins' actions in depositing the money orders and withdrawing the money the same day seemed to indicate he knew the money orders weren't legitimate.
"Nobody gives you money for nothing, much less $2,000," Loo told Robins. "When you got those two postal checks and deposited them and withdrew the money, I think you knew this is too good to be true."
The judge denied Robins' request for a chance to keep the convictions off his record. After the incident with the money orders on Aug. 11, 2011, Robins was arrested in April for shoplifting from Walmart, Loo said.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.