Man sentenced for stolen coin collection

LIHU‘E — A Kapa‘a man was sentenced Thursday in connection the theft of a $20,000 coin collection.

Joshua J. Johnson, 40, of Kapa‘a, was sentenced to one year in prison for second-degree theft, and five years probation for drug possession. Johnson was arrested on April 11 on charges of second-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, second-degree theft and first-degree burglary.

The sentencing on Wednesday concluded a plea deal that had Johnson plea guilty on two of the charges and dropped a first-degree burglary charge. The parties in the case pivoted the discussion on Johnson’s unwillingness to share information with police about the whereabouts of the coin collection he allegedly stole in order to return it to the rightful owner.

Fifth Circuit Court Judge Randal Valenciano allowed the victim of the crime to speak at the sentencing hearing. The victim asked the judge for the maximum five year sentence, because he said Johnson, who was his neighbor, had destroyed his retirement and would not likely return to society and repay what has been lost.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Wendel Crutchfield also asked for the maximum term, adding that the defendant twice refused the opportunity to help Kaua‘i Police Department retrieve and return the stolen items. Crutchfield said KPD asked Johnson on several occasions and even before he was charged to help find the coins, but was said to have made impossible demands in trade for the information.

Crutchfield also pointed out that the defendant had prior arrests and convictions in several states. He said Johnson’s claim to have found the coins in a bag and rather than return them kept them with his own coin collection, which he said was stolen in a car burglary, also sheds doubt on the sincerity of his expressed guilt.

Johnson’s defender, private attorney Craig De Costa, asked the court to consider the time that has passed since Johnson’s last arrest or conviction. He said some of the charges against him were dropped or not prosecuted against.

De Costa also pointed out that the lack of a verifiable list to satisfy the claim that the collection was worth $20,018.52, subtracting just over $300 worth of recovered coins that were returned to the owner. He said people with valuables tend to have them insured and that the adjusters provide verifiable numbers in cases such as this — and that without it the true amount cannot be for verified.

Johnson apologized to the victim, saying he would pay him.

Valenciano also ordered Johnson’s probation to have special provisions. He must complete a substance abuse assessment, undergo alcohol and drug testing, classes as directed, and 300 hours of community service and pay the full restitution of the coins to the owner using an ability to pay schedule.

De Costa’s requested was granted that the value of coins recovered in the future and returned to the owner be subtracted from the restitution.

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