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Man found sleeping in stolen vehicle arrested again

He and two others face vehicle theft charges for rash of crimes

Kapela

WAILUKU — After being released last week in a pending stolen vehicle case, a 23-year-old man was arrested Tuesday when police reported finding him asleep in another stolen vehicle.

Mana Kapela, 23, who gave no local address, was charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, three counts of habitual property crime, first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, second-degree theft and driving without a license.

During Kapela’s initial appearance Thursday in Wailuku District Court, Deputy Prosecutor Joshua Kent asked for bail to be increased from $1,000 to $50,000 for Kapela.

He was among three men arrested last month for a series of vehicle and property thefts in West Maui, Kihei and Kahului from Sept. 18 to 29. Police said Kapela and Kahului residents Jordan Ah Nee, 28, and Micah Gouveia Sanchez, 19, were identified through video surveillance and witness statements.

Court records show Kapela was released from jail on his own recognizance Oct. 7, a few days before his latest arrest.

Ah Nee

On Tuesday morning, Kapela was found asleep behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle that was in the middle of the road with its engine running, Kent said. The red 2000 Nissan Frontier had been reported stolen Monday night or early Tuesday from a Wailuku residence.

Kapela was placed on probation in August when he was sentenced for two cases of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, Kent said. Based on those convictions, Kapela could face mandatory minimum prison terms if convicted in his new case, Kent said.

“The state feels that the defendant poses a significant risk and danger to the community,” Kent said.

Deputy Public Defender Gustavo Gonzalez opposed an increase in bail for Kapela.

Judge Michelle Drewyer increased Kapela’s bail to $25,000.

Gouveia Sanchez

He is also being held in lieu of $25,000 bail in another case. When he was arraigned Wednesday in 2nd Circuit Court, Kapela pleaded not guilty to three counts of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, 12 counts of habitual property crime, six counts of credit card theft, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, driving without a license and second-degree theft.

Ah Nee, whose bail had been set at $26,000, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, four counts of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, two counts of driving without a license, two counts of fourth-degree criminal property damage, unauthorized possession of confidential personal information, credit card theft, second-degree theft and third-degree theft.

While the prosecution asked for bail to continue Thursday, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill referred to Ah Nee’s limited record in ordering the defendant’s release on supervision.

The judge noted that Ah Nee reported using marijuana and methamphetamine daily.

“If you want to stay out of jail, make sure you show up and test clean,” Cahill told Ah Nee.

Court records show Gouveia Sanchez was released on a $15,000 bail bond. He is charged with unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, two counts of first-degree unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, two counts of driving without a license, third-degree theft and two counts of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information.

Police said the rash of crimes began the evening of Sept. 18 when a Honda CR-V was stolen from the Napili area and a credit card was stolen from a vehicle that was broken into in the Kahakuloa area. On Sept. 26, a credit card and driver’s license were stolen from a vehicle in the Kapalua area.

Another vehicle break-in was reported in the early-morning hours Sept. 28 when fishing poles were stolen from a vehicle in Kihei. Later that day, two Honda CR-Vs were reported stolen, one from Kihei and one from Kahului.

The crimes continued the morning of Sept. 29 when a Hyundai Accent was stolen from Kahului. That afternoon, a driver’s license was stolen from a vehicle in Kapalua.

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

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