WAILUKU - A Makawao man who had been on probation when he was implicated in burglaries, copper and jewelry thefts and an assault on a police officer was sentenced Friday to a five-year prison term.
Tomasi Caones-Paahana, 21, had asked for another chance on probation, saying he was sorry for what he did.
But 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo said Caones-Paahana had failed to comply with requirements while he had been on probation and revoked the chance he had been given to keep earlier convictions off his record.
"I don't know if you realize what kind of impact your actions have had on all these people's lives," Loo told Caones-Paahana.
In a letter read in court by Deputy Prosecutor Kim Whitworth, the owner of Maui Master Jewelers in Makawao described how he and his wife cashed in their savings to pay back people whose jewelry was among valuables stolen in a Jan. 15 jewelry heist at the business on Baldwin Avenue. His daughter will be able to attend only one year of college on the Mainland instead of four, the letter said.
"I am being sentenced to a minimum of 10 years' labor to make up for the cost of your crime," the letter said.
In arguing for the prison term, Whitworth said the burglary and theft of the jewels were part of a crime spree by Caones-Paahana from Nov. 26 to Feb. 13. He also burglarized a home on South Holokai Road, stealing a laptop and assaulted a police officer, she said.
Defense attorney David Wiltsie asked that Caones-Paahana be given another chance on probation.
When he had been placed on probation in October for his earlier case, "he never really did get an opportunity to follow up appropriately in a clear-eyed manner," Wiltsie said.
"It was because the drugs had such a dramatic grip on him," Wiltsie said. "Meth may have been involved, but the real issue is oxycodone. Oxycodone is the real scourge.
"I don't think any of this would have occurred if Tomasi had not become addicted to oxycodones."
But Whitworth said in another crime, involving the theft of copper from Alpha Electric, Caones-Paahana had staked out the area and planned the crime, recruiting two others to help him carry it out.
"It's not the work of an out-of-control drug addict," she said. "It's the work of someone who is smart."
The thieves wore long-sleeved hoodies, masks and gloves to steal copper valued at $4,000, she said.
Fingerprints led to the identity of the thieves, who had cut a hole in a fence to remove spools of wire and had a truck backed up to the fence, Loo said. Over the next several days, she said Caones-Paahana had various friends trade the copper for cash at various outlets.
While only $260 in restitution was sought for the copper theft, $126,547 was requested for the stolen jewelry, with insurance covering a small portion of the losses and most of the jewelry not recovered, the judge noted. She said the most expensive jewelry was targeted in the burglary.
While on probation, Caones-Paahana admitted he didn't report to his probation officer, didn't find work or continue his education, didn't make court-ordered payments, didn't obtain a substance abuse evaluation and tested positive twice in January for oxycodone use.
Although Caones-Paahana said he would do better, "unfortunately, your actions speak louder than words," Loo told him.
"These were deliberate crimes," she said. "You affected so many people."
Caones-Paahana had pleaded no contest to first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, two counts of second-degree burglary, five counts of second-degree theft and third-degree promotion of a dangerous drug. He was ordered to pay $126,807 in restitution.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.