Man arrested in Maui Hands theft

Moultrie Elayer

A second suspect was arrested in the theft of Niihau shell lei and jewelry from the Maui Hands store in Makawao.

Matthew Moultrie Elayer, 32, of Kula pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree theft during his arraignment Thursday in 2nd Circuit Court.

He was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center, following his arrest Wednesday. He also is being held on a no-bail warrant for parole violation.

The jewelry and Niihau shell lei were stolen in a burglary shortly before 5 a.m. July 17 when surveillance video showed a man smashing a glass door of the Maui Hands store on Makawao Avenue. In less than a minute, the burglar stole 25 rare Niihau shell lei and five hunting knives.

In October, police recovered and returned a dozen of the priceless lei to the store.

Another suspect, Kevin MacKenzie, 34, of Pukalani is charged with first-degree theft, second-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal property damage in the case.

During his arraignment Thursday, Moultrie Elayer was ordered to stay away from the Maui Hands store and to have no contact with MacKenzie and his residence in Pukalani.