WAILUKU - As a Kahului man was sentenced for operating a stolen moped, a judge said she hoped he realized how his behavior affected the victim.
"You probably cost (the victim) time, money, maybe even a job," 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Williama Kealohanui.
The 25-year-old was arrested Jan. 29 after police Crime Reduction Unit officers saw him on the moped at 10:25 p.m. at Maui Mall.
According to court records, earlier in the month 11 mopeds had been stolen in the Kahului area, most from Maui Mall and Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. Kealohanui was seen pushing the moped through the mall by the officers.
"He was trying to evade them," said Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Jones.
She said the moped had its ignition punched and its vehicle identification number removed.
In a letter that was read in court, the moped owner said he bought the new moped shortly after moving to Maui and had planned to use it to go to work once he found a job. On the second day he owned it, the moped was stolen, hampering his ability to go to job interviews, the letter said.
"When I finally got it back, it was trashed," the letter said.
The owner said he ended up buying a car. "It's very expensive, but harder to steal," he wrote. "I won't buy another scooter on Maui."
Kealohanui had pleaded no contest to unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug. Police reported finding Kealohanui with a glass pipe containing methamphetamine residue when he was arrested.
In sentencing Kealohanui on June 7, Loo said she hoped the letter from the victim had an effect on the defendant.
Kealohanui told police he bought the moped because it was cheap and he needed transportation. "Obviously, you knew it was stolen," Loo told him.
Kealohanui was given credit for about four months he spent in jail. He was placed on four years' probation and ordered to pay $2,302 in restitution.
Loo denied Kealohanui's request for a chance to keep the convictions off his record. His prior record includes five convictions for contempt of court, six convictions for fourth-degree theft and one conviction for third-degree theft.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.