East Hawaii News

Ada Sentenced For a Dozen Downtown Car Break-Ins

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A Hilo man was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a dozen counts of breaking into vehicles in downtown Hilo.

Third Circuit Court Judge Glenn Hara sentenced Joseph V. Ada, 46, to five years on each of the 12 counts and also for other guilty pleas to six counts of theft and single counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and identity theft. All of those offenses are class “C” felonies which carry a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The judge ordered that the sentences be served concurrently or at the same time.

Hara denied a request from Ada for probation even though he had no prior felony convictions.


Ada told Hara that although he admitted using methamphetamine since he was 19 years old, he did not believe he was addicted to the drug, the Hawai`i County prosecutor’s office said.

Prosecutors said that in October 2011, Ada had been watching the parking lot of a downtown Hilo business and waited for the owner, a middle-aged woman, to arrive for work. Her habit was to leave her purse and other personal items on the passenger seat of her car while she parked, then walk around to that side of the vehicle to get the items.

Ada waited until she got out of the car and then got to the passenger door first and took the purse and other items.


The victim gave chase but could not catch Ada, but did get a good look at him.

Through investigation, police Det. Joel Field was able to identify Ada who was arrested the following month.

Further investigation connected Ada to at least 11 other thefts from cars parked downtown, and to the use of credit and debit cards taken during the thefts.


Police and prosecutors are asking the public to help reduce such crimes by locking their vehicles and by not leaving personal property in view in the car, or credit or debit cards in the glove box.

The public is also reminded that credit and debit cards are not always protected by a PIN, as some older gasoline pumps – and some retailers – will honor the card without verification.



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