‘One man crime wave’ sent to prison

LIHUE — A Hanalei man involved in numerous break-ins and thefts was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court.

Kyle Masato Matsumoto, 37, was sentenced to concurrent 10- and five-year prison terms in six separate cases for offenses between May 2012 and December 2013. He has been held on  $445,000 bail at Kauai Community Correctional Center since Dec. 3, 2013.

Judge Kathleen Watanabe presided over the hearing. She noted that Matsumoto had the benefit of both a deferral and probation in the past and that he already had felony convictions. 

Characterizing the defendant as a “one man crime wave,” Watanabe said Matsumoto “wreaked havoc on the trust of this community and visitors.” She said these actions were a “huge black eye for Kauai,” hurting both the visitor industry and residents.

Matsumoto was convicted of breaking into a vehicle parked at Makua beach, stealing a Nikon camera with lenses and accessories valued at over $4,000. The loss of professional equipment deprived the victim of his livelihood.

After breaking into a van parked at the Waikoko lookout, Matsumoto stole the suitcases of five individuals visiting family on Kauai, with valuables worth over $8,000. He broke into multiple vehicles parked at Kee Beach, leaving hikers returning from the Kalalau trail to find broken glass and missing items.

In another offense, Matsumoto used stolen credit cards to complete fraudulent transactions totaling almost $6,000. Over the Thanksgiving holiday 2013, Matsumoto broke into a Kilauea home as the victims slept and stole their credit cards and a camera.

Matsumoto waited for a tourist family to go into the water at Makua last December, before running up and stealing their bag and its contents valued at over $1,000.

“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,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar. “We will continue to do everything in our power to protect this place.”

Court-appointed defense attorney Mark Zenger represented Matsumoto. He requested that Matsumoto be given an opportunity to participate in the Kauai Drug Court program. 

Second Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Vogt represented the state. She said Matsumoto had already completed an outpatient program and did not deserve another opportunity. He was out on bail when a number of these offenses were committed, she said.

Vogt said there was a high degree of callousness with the crimes. The victims lost valuables but also endured emotional injuries from a ruined visitor experience. There was also evidence of criminal professionalism as shown by the amount of thefts and victims, she added.

Detectives Daniel Oliveira and Darren Rose were instrumental in the investigation and eventual prosecution and conviction of Matsumoto.

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