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Updated: No hard time for soft drink excuse

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally published on Saturday, March 23, 2019, has been corrected.

WAILUKU — A judge suggested a Kahului man refrain from drinking Pepsi, after he told police he was going to the store to buy soda when he was caught driving a stolen car.

Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo made the suggestion Friday while sentencing Christopher Montilliano Jr., 21.

He had pleaded no contest to unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and driving without a license.

When he was arrested at 11:30 p.m. June 12 for stealing a 1990 Honda Accord from Uptown Texaco in Wailuku, Montilliano “told various fibs, various lies,” Judge Loo said.

She noted that Montilliano told police his cousin had allowed him to drive the car and that he was going to Foodland Kehalani to buy soda, even though the Texaco sold soft drinks.

“You didn’t want to admit that you actually stole the vehicle,” Loo told Montilliano.

“Is it because the soda made you do it?” she asked.

“I’ve heard a lot of people addicted to meth. I’ve heard a lot of people addicted to alcohol,” Loo said. “This is the first time I’ve heard of a Coca-Cola addiction. I’m sure the soda didn’t make you steal the vehicle.”

A plea agreement between the defense and prosecution recommended probation and no additional jail for Montilliano. He spent seven days in custody after the arrest.

But after he didn’t show up for his original sentencing date in November, he was arrested and spent another three months in jail before being sentenced Friday.

His attorney, Josh James, said Montilliano had learned the importance of complying with the law during the additional time he spent in jail.

“I’m not going to steal cars anymore,” Montilliano said in court. “I don’t want to be in jail no more.”

He said he was going to get a job.

When Judge Loo asked Montilliano what kind of soda he was addicted to, he said Pepsi.

“It’s the Pepsi deprivation syndrome,” she said.

As part of his probation, Montilliano was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $100 fine.