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Judge says theft of entire ATM in Kaanapali ‘pretty bold’

April 21, 2013
By LILA FUJIMOTO - Staff Writer ( , The Maui News

WAILUKU - Although a Lahaina man didn't plan a burglary where an automated teller machine was removed from a Kaanapali business, it couldn't have been carried out without him, a judge said.

"You see thefts. You see shopliftings. You see people trying to run out of a store with a 12-pack or a bottle," 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said during sentencing Friday for Jose Rodriguez Juarez. "You go and take the whole ATM. That's pretty bold."

Bissen said "there's no question" that the person who planned the robbery was Michael Aguilar, 34, who was sentenced last year to a 10-year prison term.

"The defendant's role in this clearly was that of accomplice," Bissen said, referring to Juarez. "There's no way Mr. Aguilar could have completed this crime without the defendant."

With the prosecution not opposing the request and the probation department supporting it, Juarez was given a chance to keep convictions off his record if he follows court requirements for the next five years. He was given credit for more than six months he had spent in jail.

Juarez, 24, had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree criminal property damage, as well as other charges of third-degree criminal property damage and second-degree criminal property damage, in connection with the burglary at 2:05 a.m. Aug. 13 at CJ's Deli & Diner in Kaanapali.

Surveillance video showed two men working together and using a light metallic-colored Cadillac Escalade in the burglary. One man, later identified as Aguilar, was seen prying open the bottom of a glass pane on a door of the deli while the other man parked the car in front, according to court records.

Aguilar crawled through the opening into the business and took a cash register drawer containing $300 from under the counter before entering an office and trying to open a safe, court records show.

Aguilar carried the cash register drawer to the vehicle before again entering the business and pushing and pulling the ATM until it dislodged from its anchor bolts.

Aguilar was seen opening the double doors of the business and directing the driver of the vehicle as it reversed up against the curb. The two men carried the ATM, containing $3,200, into the vehicle.

After driving to Honolua Bay, Aguilar pried open the ATM, giving Juarez about $300, he later told police.

"We have a young man who appears to be extremely inebriated on the day of the offense, is struggling with other controlled substance issues, is obviously in need of money and falls under the influence of an older, seemingly seasoned criminal who proposes this act," said Juarez's attorney, Chris Dunn. "He essentially goes along for the ride, lifts something heavy.

"Given his physical stature, he's there for one purpose - and that's to lift a heavy thing."

Since being released from jail about two months ago, Juarez has been working full time, Dunn said.

Deputy Prosecutor Terence Herndon asked the judge to follow the plea agreement recommending no additional jail for Juarez. "We believe this is a fair agreement," Herndon said.

Bissen said he wasn't ordering Juarez to perform community service so he could work extra hours to help repay $1,300 in restitution that was ordered. Juarez is to repay the money along with Aguilar.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at



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