Five-year prison sentence meted out to Wailuku man

Judge calls him ‘tidal wave of epic proportions’

The Maui News

WAILUKU — Calling a man a “tidal wave of epic proportions,” a judge sentenced the defendant Wednesday to five years in prison for stealing cash from a store customer, burglarizing a garage and using a credit card stolen from a friend’s father.

Paul Decoite III, 34, of Wailuku was on probation for forgery and theft when he committed the latest crimes.

“I don’t know if you’ve heard the term, ‘It’s not the motion of the ocean; it’s the size of the wave,’ “ 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Decoite. “You are a tidal wave of epic proportions. You’re out of control.”

Decoite had pleaded no contest to second-degree theft, second-degree burglary, third-degree theft, credit card theft and fraudulent use of a credit card in three criminal cases.

In one case, on Dec. 22, 2016, Decoite stole $4,000 in Christmas money from a customer who was counting the cash while leaving the bank area at Walmart in Kahului.

About two weeks later, on Jan. 10, 2017, Decoite entered a garage on Olina Street in Kahului and stole a hammer, drill, battery and battery charger.

Around the same time, numerous unauthorized charges were made on a credit card belonging to the father of the woman Decoite was dating.

“Not to mention all these other cases you were on probation for,” Loo said. “You’re lucky you’re only getting five years today because you probably should be getting 10 or 15.”

As part of a plea agreement, the prosecution agreed not to seek mandatory-minimum terms for Decoite as a repeat offender.

Loo said Decoite hadn’t taken advantage of opportunities while he was on probation. He was resentenced to five years in prison for second-degree theft, second-degree forgery and unauthorized possession of confidential personal information in a 2014 case.