LIHUE — A Hilo man will get five years in jail for breaking into a Kapaa home in 2016.
Darren Ornellas, 23, pleaded no contest Monday to two counts of theft, and in exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop the most serious charge against him, first degree burglary, a felony punishable by up to a decade of incarceration.
He still faces a lesser felony, second degree theft, which, in Ornellas’ case, carries a minimum five-year jail sentence, according to charging documents and the plea offer Ornellas signed Monday. He will also have to pay restitution to the victims in an amount to be determined later.
According to court documents, Ornellas broke into a home on Kolopua Street in Kapaa in May 2016 and stole jewelry, a handbag and an iPad mini. He was charged in connection with the crime in November 2017 pleaded not guilty in June of this year. He has been in custody since then on $25,000 bail.
Ornellas has a prior history of similar crimes, beginning at age 18 when he broke into a Big Island residence. He pleaded guilty a year later to seven felonies in connection with the incident — five counts of burglary and two counts of theft — and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Because of his prior criminal record, prosecutors opted to charge him under a Hawaii statute that allows mandatory minimum prison terms for repeat offenders that present a danger to the public. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 12 to five years for second-degree theft and one month for fourth-degree theft.