REPORT FROM KAUAI COUNTY – LĪHU’E – Judge Kathleen Watanabe today sentenced Pohaku Matsuura, age 35 of Hanamā’ulu, to 10 years in prison for charges stemming from a three-month crime spree back in 2011.
Second Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Vogt represented the State of Hawai‘i, while Matsuura was represented by Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Sato.
During the period between July and September of 2011, Matsuura broke into an unattended vehicle, a preschool, and rooms at various hotels across the island. He then used the checks and credit cards he stole to make unauthorized purchases at Wal-Mart, Prestige Jewelers and other merchants.
Matsuura was arrested in September of 2011 and remained in custody in lieu of $250,000 bail. On Dec. 26, 2012, Matsuura pled guilty to 20 Class C felonies, one Class B felony and two misdemeanors.
The State argued that prison was the only appropriate sentence for Matsuura due to his lengthy criminal record spanning the better half of his life. As an adult, Matsuura had three felony convictions in addition to numerous misdemeanor convictions, including a one-year prison sentence back in 1996 for Promoting a Dangerous Drug. Then in 1998, Matsuura was sentenced to a five-year term for Theft in the Second Degree.
In addition to today’s 10-year prison term, Matsuura was ordered to stay away from the Līhu‘e Christian Church, ‘Ae Kamali‘i Preschool, and the Kaua‘i Palms Hotel.
“Our community thrives when we respect one another,” stated Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar. “When someone steals from a preschool, especially someone with a criminal record like this one, it’s a sign that they don’t respect the community and cannot be part of it. We thank the KPD investigators for their hard work on this case, and hope Mr. Matsuura learns from the error of his ways.”