Probation for beer theft

LIHU‘E — Four beers can lead to five years’ probation when taken from someone else’s refrigerator.

George Gillies, 56, of Kilauea, was granted a deferred sentence on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court for first-degree burglary and an amended fourth-degree theft charge. If he complies with the terms of probation, the charges will be deleted from his record.

Gillies was arrested for first-degree burglary and third-degree theft on Oct. 14, 2011. He changed his plea to guilty on Nov. 11.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe of the 5th Circuit said a good record and an expression of remorse and embarrassment over the matter was what convinced her to grant probation.  She also sentenced him to time served, which was 34 days.

Deputy Public Defender Christian Enright said it was an alcohol abuse-related crime, and that Gillies has already taken measures to help himself. He added that Gillies has performed well on supervised release.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Vogt said the state objected to the deferment. She noted that a tenant of Gillies suspected theft was occurring and set up video cameras that recorded the activity.

The state had recommended 60 days in jail and five years’ probation for the burglary charge, and a year for the theft.

Watanabe ordered a substance abuse assessment, along with 250 hours of public service. She reminded Gillies that by not following the terms of probation he could face jail time, and the loss of the deferment would give him a felony record.

“Make it work,” Watanabe said to the Gillies in court. “There is a lot at stake here.”

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or tlaventure@thegardenisland.com.

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