LIHUE — Less than 24 hours after completing a five-year prison sentence for car theft, Jovi Enrique stole a car.
Enrique, a one-time Anahola resident, has spent a significant portion of his adult years in detention facilities and can expect that trend to continue. He was sentenced to another 10 years in jail Tuesday for stealing a car after taking it for a test drive last year.
Enrique was released from jail in January 2018, where he was sent after pleading no contest to one count of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle — Hawaii’s auto theft statute.
The following day, he visited King Auto Center, “expressed interest in buying a vehicle,” and after test driving a Honda Pilot with a dealership employee, Enrique “opted to take the vehicle without paying,” according to a statement prosecutors included in the plea bargain Enrique accepted last week.
Prosecutors wrote that Enrique drove directly at the employee, “who tried to stop him by standing in front of the car and then jumping on the hood when Mr. Enrique drove at him.”
Enrique continued driving off the lot with the car salesman still on the hood, “swerving and jerking the vehicle” in an attempt to force the employee off the car and “eventually hurling him into the roadway.”
Enrique pleaded no contest last week to second-degree robbery, a class B felony, and in exchange, several lesser charges were dismissed. He will also be required to pay restitution to be determined at a hearing on March 28 in Kauai’s Fifth Circuit Court.
Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar issued the following statement in a county press release: “This was a very dangerous act, one that could have very easily resulted in serious injury or worse. We are satisfied that the judge handed down the maximum sentence. We will continue to work closely with our partners at the Kauai Police Department to ensure that our community and roadways remain safe places for our residents and visitors.”
On a side note, Enrique also faces charges related to an incident that allegedly took place after he was arrested for the car theft. On March 5, “while at the Kauai Correctional Facility, Jovi Enrique exposed his penis to his cellmates,” according to court documents. He was charged with fourth-degree sex assault in that case.
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.