WAILUKU - A 20-year-old Kihei man was released from jail Friday after being incarcerated for nearly three months for using a stolen credit card belonging to a friend's mother to make charges at restaurants and businesses.
James Wiles was placed on five years' probation, with 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo sentencing him under a law providing for drug treatment and probation instead of prison for first-time nonviolent drug-related offenders.
Wiles was in high school when he used the credit card during a three-day spree from Sept. 25 to 28, 2010, to buy coffee, food and treats, racking up more than $200 in charges, said Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball.
"He went through an experimental period with alcohol," Ball said.
But he said Wiles now recognizes that he needs help and treatment.
"The actions I chose in my past were childish," Wiles said in court Friday. "I want to apologize for everybody it's affected."
Wiles had pleaded no contest to theft of a credit card and 14 counts each of third-degree identity theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and fourth-degree theft.
The credit card and jewelry were stolen from the owner's bedroom while she was off island, said Deputy Prosecutor Justine Hura. Wiles and other friends of the owner's son had been at the residence, according to court records.
Hura said Wiles abused his friend's hospitality and trust. "Once he was caught, he did try to make amends with the family," she said.
Wiles told police a friend gave him the credit card because he was owed money.
"Whether you stole it or someone gave it to you, it's still no excuse for you to use it," Loo told Wiles.
The judge also told Wiles to "leave experiments to scientists."
While he was released on supervision, Wiles had 17 clean drug tests but admitted to taking a psychostimulant drug without a prescription and also tested positive for amphetamine.
Wiles had spent 81 days in jail as of Friday. As part of his probation, he was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to pay $135 in restitution.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.