Jury returns guilty verdict in stolen car case

LIHUE — A Kapaa man was found guilty Thursday by a Fifth Circuit Court jury of two felony charges regarding theft of a vehicle from the in Kapaa last year.

The jury returned its verdict following a three-day jury trial presided over by Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano. The jury found Stephen Kaliko Makanani, 32, guilty of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle in the first degree, both class C felonies.

Testimony revealed Makanani stole the vehicle in the early morning of Oct. 28, 2016, and was seen by the owner returning it five hours later. The owner of the vehicle confronted Makanani and photographed him exiting the vehicle. Makanani escaped and was apprehended several weeks later by Kauai Police Department officers after an arrest warrant was obtained.

Makanani has eight prior felony convictions from four different cases.

In this case, Makanani was charged and prosecuted as a persistent and multiple offender by the county Office of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Career Criminal Unit.

“Career criminals like Stephen Makanani make our community less safe,” said Prosecuting Attorney Justin F. Kollar.

Makanani will be sentenced on Nov. 11.

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