WAILUKU - After running from a police officer seeking to arrest him on a warrant, a Kahului man was convicted of operating a stolen moped that he left behind.
A 2nd Circuit Court jury reached the verdict Wednesday morning, finding Ricky Magsayo, 33, guilty of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle.
"Could it be any easier to tie it back to him?" Deputy Prosecutor Timothy Tate said during closing arguments to jurors Tuesday afternoon in the trial. "He's found in the driveway standing next to it."
The moped had been painted blue, with its mirrors gone, its ignition punched and its gas tank damaged when it was recovered in the early-morning hours of Oct. 24, 2011, from the driveway of Magsayo's residence on Honowai Street.
The vehicle had been black when it was reported stolen from Kihei on Oct. 9, 2011.
The next day, when police officer Clifford Dagulo stopped Magsayo for a traffic violation in front of his residence, he was driving a white Nissan sedan.
But over the next two weeks, Dagulo testified, he twice saw Magsayo, without a helmet or glasses, riding a blue moped in the Kahului area.
After learning there was a warrant for Magsayo's arrest, Dagulo said, he saw Magsayo standing next to the moped in front of his residence at about 1 a.m. Oct. 24, 2011. "I got an excellent look at him," said Dagulo, who had focused a spotlight on Magsayo.
By the time Dagulo made a U-turn to reach the residence and parked his police car, Magsayo was gone, the officer said. "He sprinted away from me," Dagulo said.
He said officers woke up Magsayo's parents and brother who were asleep in the home and got permission to search the residence but didn't find Magsayo inside. A police check of the vehicle identification number of the moped showed it was the one that had been reported stolen in Kihei.
In closing arguments, Deputy Public Defender Shelly Miyashiro said Magsayo wasn't seen operating the moped that night and was standing 5 feet away. "This, without more, is not enough to prove unauthorized control," Miyashiro said.
She said Dagulo couldn't give specific dates for the prior times that he testified he saw Magsayo operating a moped and couldn't show that it was the same moped that was found at the residence.
But Tate argued that the combination of direct and circumstantial evidence presented during the trial showed that Magsayo had been operating the moped without permission of its owner.
"The evidence all pointed to him," Tate said.
"I'm glad that the jury chose to convict this defendant and hold him accountable for the crime he committed," Tate said after the verdict. "When he is sentenced, I will be seeking a maximum prison sentence and consecutive prison sentences for his two cases."
According to court records, Magsayo is awaiting sentencing in another case after pleading no contest to charges of third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, possessing drug paraphernalia and third-degree promotion of a detrimental drug.
Judge Joseph Cardoza presided over the trial this week.
Magsayo is scheduled to be sentenced June 18 on the unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle charge, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
According to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, Magsayo has 12 convictions, dating to 1999, for crimes including abuse, first-degree burglary, second-degree theft, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, fourth-degree theft and first-degree criminal trespassing.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.