LIHUE — Stephen Kaliko Makanani of Kapaa was sentenced to serve five years in prison following his conviction on two felony charges relating to the theft of a vehicle from the parking lot behind the Dragon Building in Kapaa, in October 2016.
Makanani, 32, was found guilty following a three-day jury trial presided over by Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Randal G.B. Valenciano.
The jury found Makanani guilty of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle in the first degree, both class C felonies. The two five-year terms were ordered to run concurrently. Makanani’s court-appointed defense lawyer requested that Makanani be placed on probation.
Testimony during the trial revealed that Makanani stole the vehicle from the parking lot in the early morning of Oct. 28, 2016 and was seen by the owner returning it nearly five hours later.
The owner of the vehicle confronted Makanani and photographed him exiting the vehicle, but Makanani escaped and was apprehended several weeks later by the Kauai Police Department after a warrant for Makanani’s arrest was obtained.
Makanani’s prior criminal history includes eight felony convictions from four different cases, including convictions for burglary, illegal possession of drug paraphernalia, theft of credit card, unauthorized control of propelled vehicle, and unauthorized possession of confidential personal information. Makanani’s parole in those cases expired less than three months before the charges in this case arose.
In this case, Makanani was charged and prosecuted as a persistent offender and a multiple offender by the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Career Criminal Unit.
The jury declined to make a finding that would double the possible prison sentence from 10 to 20 years in this case.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sean Van Demark prosecuted the case for the state of Hawaii. At sentencing, Van Demark requested that the two five-year terms be ordered to run consecutively.
“This sentence sends a message that repeat offenders will be held accountable for their actions in our community,” Prosecuting Attorney Justin F. Kollar said.