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No contest plea entered for theft of iPad

LIHUE — The Kapaa women who was convicted of taking an iPad belonging to the County Council was sentenced to five years prison on Thursday in 5th Circuit Court.

Karin Lehua Ho, 46, appeared in custody and made no comment to the court.

The second-degree theft offense may not have warranted prison time in and of itself, but the court also mentioned a prior record that included another felony theft, and a failed probation attempt that resulted in a prison term.

“I have concerns about placing you on probation again,” said Chief Judge Randal Valenciano.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Winn said the state would recommend probation with terms and conditions that included a substance abuse assessment. As part of the plea deal, Ho agreed to write a letter of apology to County Council Vice Chair Mason Chock, as it was his Apple iPad 2 that Ho was convicted of taking on Jan. 31.

The letter of apology to Chock was acceptable, Winn added.

The plea agreement signed on July 17 had Ho pleading no contest to second-degree theft. In exchange, the state agreed to ask for felony probation with up to 30 days in jail, and would not pursue a prison term.

Court-appointed defense attorney Mark Zenger said Ho has already served 120 days at Kauai County Correction Center. He asked for probation and time served.

The incident occurred on Jan. 31 when Chock set his iPad with student items at Niumalu Pavilion before starting work for the Malama Huleia project to remove shoreline mangrove in the Nawiliwili Harbor area. The items were left unsecure for about 45 minutes when Chock estimated the theft occurred.

Winn said an eyewitness to Ho taking the iPad, and testimony from someone who ended up with the item, was the evidence for their case.

The County IT office located the iPad through tracking devices to find that it had changed hands or was possibly sold.

Ho was arrested for the theft on May 5.

The iPad had just been placed into use and Chock said that as a new council member, there was no sensitive information contained within. It is his habit to leave confidential information at the council offices and not to keep them on his personal equipment, he said.

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