LIHUE – On Wednesday, Judge Kathleen Watanabe sentenced Kyle Masato Matsumoto, a 37-year-old Hanalei man, to concurrent 10 and five-year prison terms in six separate cases.
Second Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Vogt represented the State of Hawai‘i and Mark Zenger represented Matsumoto, who has been in custody at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center since December 3, 2013 in lieu of $445,000 bail.
The six cases that Matsumoto was sentenced on were all theft offenses that took place between May of 2012 and December of 2013. Detectives Daniel Oliveira and Darren Rose were instrumental in the investigation and eventual prosecution and conviction of Matsumoto. The State outlined the facts of each of the six cases and read statements from each of the victims who submitted them.
In May of 2012, Matsumoto broke into a vehicle at the beach at Makua and stole a Nikon camera with lenses and accessories valued at over $4,000, depriving the victim of his livelihood.
On July 10, 2012, Matsumoto broke into a van parked at the Waikoko lookout and stole the suitcases of five individuals visiting family on Kaua‘i. The items stolen totaled over $8,000.
Matsumoto broke into multiple vehicles parked at Kē‘ē Beach, in November of 2012, leaving hikers returning from the Kalalau trail to find broken glass and missing items.
In November of 2013, Matsumoto used stolen credit cards to complete fraudulent transactions totaling almost $6,000. Over the Thanksgiving holiday last year, Matsumoto broke into a home in Kīlauea while the individuals were sleeping inside and stole credit cards and a camera.
Finally, on December 2, 2013, Matsumoto waited for a tourist family to go into the water, again at Makua, before running up and stealing their bag and its contents valued at over $1,000.
The defense requested that Matsumoto be given an opportunity to participate in the Kaua‘i Drug Court program. The State asserted that Matsumoto had already completed an outpatient program and that he did not deserve another opportunity. Further, he was out on bail when a number of these offenses were committed. The State also focused on the high degree of callousness of the crimes, the emotional injuries done to the victims, and the large scale of criminal professionalism as evidenced by the amount of thefts and victims.
Judge Watanabe noted that Matsumoto had the benefit of both a deferral and probation in the past and that he already had felony convictions. She characterized him as a “one man crime wave” and as someone who “wreaked havoc on the trust of this community and visitors,” noting that there were both resident victims and tourist victims. She noted that his actions were a “huge black eye for Kaua‘i” hurting both the visitor industry and residents before sentencing him to the 10- year prison term.
Prosecuting Attorney Justin F. Kollar stated, “These types of crime sprees degrade our social fabric and contribute to the loss of trust and mutual support that makes our community such a special place. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect this place.”