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Haiku man has his probation revoked in robbery case

New assaults result in 10 years in prison

WAILUKU — A man who was on probation for robbery when he abused his girlfriend and shattered her vehicle window, injuring her daughter and nieces, was sentenced earlier this month to a 10-year prison term.

Michael Sobel, 34, of Haiku had pleaded no contest in two criminal cases to second-degree assault, first-degree criminal property damage and felony abuse in the presence of a minor under age 14.

“What’s really alarming and concerning is the type of criminal behavior that the defendant committed while on probation,” said Deputy Prosecutor Shelly Miyashiro at the sentencing Oct. 16. “These were violent crimes. His lack of control of his actions and emotions caused great harm to the victims. The public needs to be protected from future crimes of the defendant.”

The assault occurred on April 19, 2018, when Sobel showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s residence and began yelling at her and a man she was in a relationship with, Miyashiro said. She said Sobel tried to challenge the other man to a fight, and he told Sobel he was calling police.

When the other man threw items at Sobel and rushed him, Sobel ran outside to his truck. He got a 16-inch metal pipe that he threw at the victim, who was struck in his arm, shoulder and left side of his face and suffered a laceration as he tried to block the pipe, Miyashiro said.

She said Sobel had been released on bail when he got into an argument Nov. 3, 2018, with a woman he was dating. He was high on methamphetamine and yelled at her to leave the residence, Miyashiro said.

When the woman refused to leave, Sobel punched her two to three times in the back of her head and once in her face, Miyashiro said. She said Sobel also used a heavy shirt to whip the woman in the face five to seven times. The woman punched Sobel one or two times, Miyashiro said.

She said the woman told her 12-year-old daughter and 10- and 11-year-old nieces, who were outside, to get into her vehicle. Sobel was following when she accidentally sideswiped his truck before he shattered the rear passenger window of her vehicle, possibly by punching it, Miyashiro said.

She said the three girls were injured by the broken glass. The victim reported that Sobel bumped the rear of her vehicle one or two times as she was driving away toward a gate at the end of the driveway, Miyashiro said.

Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal said Sobel had been accepted into a long-term residential treatment program on Oahu and was taking classes in jail.

“These are positive steps that show hope that he can lead a law-abiding life and rejoin the community,” Lowenthal said.

Defense attorney Cary Virtue said Sobel has suffered from methamphetamine addiction as well as mental health issues.

Sobel asked for another chance on probation, despite a plea agreement calling for prison.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen noted that Sobel’s probation was being revoked for the second time in his 2013 robbery case. Reports indicated that Sobel last reported in person to his probation officer in June 2016, Bissen said.

“How does it make you a good candidate when you haven’t met your probation officer face to face in over three years?” Bissen said.

In the robbery case, Sobel was described as the getaway driver who waited on a dirt bike as part of a bank robbery in Pukalani.

He was resentenced to a 10-year prison term for second-degree robbery, to be served at the same time as 10-year and five-year prison terms in his more recent cases.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.