WAILUKU - A defendant said he was grateful to the 15-year-old girl who reported seeing him break into a vehicle at a Pukalani shopping center, as he was released from jail Friday and placed on five years' probation.
"I thank that teenager," Eben Dodd said in court. "She cleaned me up, put me on the right step to be a better father. I'd like to apologize to the people I took from. I've learned my lesson."
As a first-time drug-related offender, the 36-year-old Haiku resident was sentenced to probation and drug treatment instead of prison.
He was given credit for about five months he had spent in jail after his arrest July 4.
Dodd had pleaded no contest to first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and second-degree theft for breaking into a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck that was parked at Pukalani Terrace Center that day.
The girl was in another car when she saw a man use a Slim Jim tool to break into the truck and steal an iPod and camera. Police were called when the girl spotted the man, later identified as Dodd, at Pukalani Superette.
In his backpack, police found the stolen items.
"He has said over and over again to me that he was not just arrested, he was rescued - rescued from himself and from his drug use," said Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball.
Kipahulu resident Nani Berg, whose family took Dodd in when he was a teenager, said she would be responsible for taking him to classes and appointments.
"He does have a network for rehabilitation," Ball said.
With Deputy Prosecutor Kenton Werk agreeing not to seek additional jail for Dodd and his hanai mother supporting him, "it sounds like you've got a lot of people in your corner," 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo told Dodd.
"I truly hope you do not disappoint any of these people," she said.
Dodd was ordered to stay away from Pukalani Terrace Center and to have no contact with the victims in the case.
In other sentencings:
* A 26-year-old man was given credit for about four months he spent in jail and was placed on one year's probation Friday for breaking into two vehicles in Paia.
Troy Abordo-Lecker has a residential treatment space waiting for him at 'Ohana Makamae in Hana, Ball said.
His mother said she would do whatever was needed to help Abordo-Lecker receive treatment.
"I'm fully committed to getting sober," Abordo-Lecker said in court.
He had pleaded no contest to two reduced charges of second-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and attempted fourth-degree theft.
In one case, Abordo-Lecker was seen entering a 1988 Ford Mustang, from which an iPod was stolen, at Baldwin Beach Park the afternoon of May 22, Werk said.
On Aug. 2 at about 9:45 p.m., Abordo-Lecker ordered more than $60 in food from Charley's Restaurant and left without paying, Werk said.
About 10 minutes later, Abordo-Lecker was seen illegally entering a vehicle in a parking lot near the restaurant and claimed he was looking for cigarettes, Werk said.
Loo said Abordo-Lecker was inebriated at the time of both offenses and appeared to have been "out of control . . . high on drugs or alcohol or a combination" for the last six years.
But the judge said he now seemed motivated to seek sobriety.
Noting that the name of the treatment program, 'Ohana Makamae, means "precious family," Loo told Abordo-Lecker: "You have a precious family. I hope you take advantage of this opportunity."
He was ordered to pay $278 in restitution.
* A 31-year-old Kahului man was ordered to pay $1,950 in restitution for two vehicles that were towed and sold to a recycling business earlier this year.
Lane Hoewaa-Pontanilla was given a chance to keep a second-degree theft conviction off his record if he complies with court requirements for the next five years.
He had pleaded no contest to the charge involving a 1988 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was towed from the Times Supermarket parking lot in Kihei in February.
The vehicle owner, who had left the car in the lot Feb. 1 because of a loose muffler, discovered it missing Feb. 3 and found it at a metals recycling business in the Central Maui baseyard off Mokulele Highway in Puunene.
Hoewaa-Pontanilla, who was starting a towing business, told police he hadn't been aware of requirements that he notify the legal owner of a vehicle and hold it for at least 35 days before disposing of it, according to court records.
Deputy Public Defender Gina Gormley said the vehicle and another one that also was towed appeared to be abandoned.
"He did seek permission, just not from the right individual," Gormley said. "He did act under the belief that what he was doing was OK."
As part of a plea agreement, Hoewaa-Pontanilla had another theft charge dismissed but agreed to pay restitution for both vehicles.
Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza imposed the sentence Thursday.