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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 18, 2006

Three Maui teens charged in country club blaze

Advertiser Staff

WAILUKU, Maui A Maui grand jury has indicted three 18-year-olds suspected of starting a fire that caused $1 million damage at the Pukalani Country Club on April 14.

The men were arrested Tuesday on charges of first-degree criminal property damage, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Two of the suspects, Richard Acorda of Pukalani and Maxwell Webster of Ha'iku, are seniors at King Kekaulike High School. The third, Dayton Valoroso of Ha'iku, is a 2005 graduate of the Pukalani school.

Images from a surveillance camera led police to the suspects. Webster allegedly poured a can of gasoline on a golf cart removed from an outdoor storage area and Valoroso allegedly set it ablaze at about 2:30 a.m.

The cart rolled toward the clubhouse, spreading flames to a cart barn and destroying 33 golf carts valued at $5,000 each. The pro shop and restaurant sustained extensive smoke, fire and water damage.

The suspects told police they set the golf cart on fire after they couldn't get it to start, and didn't mean to burn the clubhouse.

The Pukalani Country Club golf course and driving range have reopened, but the clubhouse remains closed.

Acorda was released after posting $50,000 bail, and Webster posted $100,000 bail. Both will be arraigned May 31 in 2nd Circuit Court. Valoroso, unable to post $100,000 bail, was arraigned yesterday and confined at the Maui Community Correctional Center.

The Pukalani Country Club, in a residential neighborhood at the 1,100-foot elevation of Haleakala, has experienced other recent problems.

In early April, a vehicle tore up some of the greens. In March, a golf cart and water fountain were set on fire on the 14th fairway.