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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 1:39 p.m., Tuesday, September 4, 2007

5-year term in Hawaii's first copper-theft felony case

Advertiser Staff

A 45-year-old man has been sent to prison for five years and ordered to pay $4,500 in restitution in the first felony criminal case involving copper theft.

Michael Scott Handy's lawyer Lee Hayakawa asked Circuit Judge Steven Alm to sentence the defendant to probation, arguing that that was the normal and appropriate sentence for a first-time offender charged with a nonviolent crime.

But City Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Franklin Pacarro Jr. asked for the five-year prison sentence "so that people will realize the seriousness of the offense" of stealing copper, a crime that continues to plague Honolulu and other localities.

Alm agreed, telling Handy, "Everybody gets hurt by this."

Handy was charged with criminal property damage and misdemeanor theft and trespassing after he tore copper flashing from a Board of Water Supply building on Kapahulu Avenue in May 2006.

He was arrested after a 17-year-old witness called police and alerted them to the crime in progress.