Theft from church nets jail for man on probation

WAILUKU – A man who is on probation in another theft case was sentenced Tuesday to a one-year jail term for stealing an acoustic bass guitar from a Kahului church last year.

Johnny Kalani Bailey, 23, of Haiku also was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service as part of five years’ probation in his latest case.

He was ordered to pay $200 in restitution to First National Pawn, where he had received the amount when he pawned the guitar.

It was stolen June 27, 2012, from the music room of King’s Cathedral, where Bailey was a parishioner, said Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas. He said the guitar belonged to the wife of a church pastor, who placed its value at $400.

The pawn shop had estimated the value even higher at $500, Temas said. Police recovered a pawn receipt showing Bailey’s identification, signature and thumbprint.

A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended probation and no jail for Bailey.

But 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza noted that a report described Bailey’s behavior while released on bail as “poor.” Bailey didn’t show up to be interviewed by a probation officer before sentencing and didn’t report for drug testing, according to the report.

In addition, a warrant had been issued for his arrest for violating terms of his probation in his other case.

“Are your actions telling me that you’re going to be a good and obedient probationer?” Cardoza asked Bailey.

“My actions are different than what the court wants me to do,” Bailey replied. “I want to get back on track.”

Deputy Public Defender Annalisa Bernard said Bailey had explained that he didn’t show up for the drug testing because he has a drug problem and knew he would test positive.

“That’s not an excuse, obviously, but that is his explanation,” she said.

She said Bailey hadn’t gotten treatment and reported he was still struggling with his addiction, with marijuana being his drug of choice.

Bailey had pleaded no contest to second- and third-degree theft.

In imposing the jail term, Cardoza told Bailey, “I’m hoping you’re going to realize you’ve got to get things moving in the right direction. I want to make sure you understand how serious this situation is.”

Bailey also was ordered to have no contact with the pastor and his wife, to stay away from First National Pawn and to write letters apologizing. He was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.

In addition to being taken into custody Tuesday to serve the jail term, Bailey was arrested on a warrant alleging he violated his probation in his other case, which involved the theft of a mini dirt bike from a Kuau garage last year.