WAILUKU - After saying he couldn't work and had trouble doing community service, a man was taken into custody Friday to serve a two-month jail term for taking money from Maui residents for construction work he never did or did badly.
"The only thing left is jail," 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen told Vincent Del Rosario. "You talked your way into jail by making excuses that the court does not believe."
The 62-year-old Kihei resident also was placed on five years' probation and ordered to pay $13,500 in restitution.
The three victims reported that Del Rosario took the money in late 2007 and early 2008, misrepresenting himself as licensed to do construction work and promising to install windows, repair a roof and put up a fence and gates.
Knowing a Wailuku woman's husband was sick, Del Rosario "used the Hawaiian language and the Hawaiian ways to encourage me to go with him to fix my roof," she said. "He has done nothing except walk on the top to measure it."
Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds read from the letter of another victim, an 81-year-old Paia woman who lives on a fixed income and lost $3,000 to Del Rosario.
She said she even recommended Del Rosario to friends and once fed lunch to him and his son and gave them food to take home. "I think stealing from someone who helped you is about as low as you can get," she wrote.
A 65-year-old Kahului woman also was victimized by Del Rosario, Simonds said.
"This kind of property crime is so callous because it targets the most trusting members of our community," he said.
Del Rosario had pleaded no contest to three counts each of second-degree theft and unlicensed activity.
Last November, after pleading no contest to similar charges for similar crimes occurring earlier, Del Rosario was ordered to pay nearly $22,000 in restitution and perform 500 hours of community service as part of five years' probation.
In court Friday, defense attorney Graham Mottola said Del Rosario had made the $200 monthly payments toward restitution as ordered in his earlier case. But Del Rosario, a veteran who receives $2,673 a month in disability income, is unable to work and has had trouble getting a ride to do his community service, Mottola said.
"I'm here because I'm wrong," Del Rosario said. "I'm also here because they say what goes around comes around, and it came around. I'm truly sorry for what I did."
Questioned by the judge, Del Rosario said he served 13 months in the military from 1967 to 1968, reaching the rank of staff sergeant. He said he receives veterans benefits after being found 100 percent disabled and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Bissen said he found Del Rosario's words "highly suspect."
"You are a con man, Mr. Del Rosario," Bissen said. "You may have some other issues, but first and foremost what comes across in all this is you are a predator who scams older people to take their money from them. And you do it repeatedly."
Del Rosario acknowledged paying $3,000 to a bondsman who posted $30,000 bail for him in his latest case and paying $1,000 for a $10,000 bond to be released in his previous case.
"When you needed to come up with money because you didn't want to sit in custody, you came up with $3,000," Bissen told Del Rosario. "And you couldn't pay any of these people back.
"You had no intention of doing the work. You had every intention to scam the community."
Bissen ordered Del Rosario to make restitution payments of $500 a month, starting after he completes his jail term.
In another sentencing, a 21-year-old man was ordered to complete a one-year jail term as part of five years' probation Thursday for burglarizing businesses in Makawao town earlier this year.
Brandon Dodd was ordered to pay $550 in restitution along with co-defendant Maika Lacio.
Dodd had pleaded no contest to two counts each of second-degree burglary, second-degree theft and fourth-degree criminal property damage, as well as fourth-degree theft.
Police were responding to a burglar alarm at 10:21 a.m. May 3 at Goodie's on Baldwin Avenue when officers received a report of a theft occurring across the street at Viewpoints Gallery. Two men ran out of the business, with Dodd trying to conceal a fish hook valued at $950 and an alabaster and wood sculpture worth $300, according to police reports.
Dodd and Lacio also were implicated in a 3:55 a.m. burglary of Hot Island Glass after $3,675 in glass artwork was recovered from Lacio's residence on Nakui Street in Makawao, police reported.
Dodd previously served a one-year jail term after pleading no contest to a reduced charge for vandalizing a bathroom and other public facilities in Kihei through graffiti.
In court Thursday, he asked for "one last chance."
"You need to give yourself that chance," 2nd Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza told Dodd. "There are a lot of things you need to do to get yourself moving in the right direction."
He urged Dodd to make plans for education and treatment while he serves about seven months remaining of his jail term. "You need to put the time to positive use," Cardoza said. "Don't just sit in the jail."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.