Ex-convict gets 6 months in prison for stealing truck parts, then truck itself


An ex-convict was slapped with a six-month prison term for stealing parts of a pickup truck and eventually the truck itself from a dive shop in Susupe.

Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio last week sentenced Thomas T. Matsunaga to two years imprisonment, all suspended except six months, for the offense of theft.

Matsunaga, 51, was given credit for time served of 95 days.

After serving the prison term, the defendant will be placed on probation for two years and required, among other conditions, to pay restitution to the victim, Byung Hwan Kim, in the amount of $1,000 and to Motion Auto Repair Shop in the amount of $480 before the expiration of his probationary period.

Matsunaga was ordered to pay a $100 fine, $25 court assessment fee, plus probation fee, and perform 100 hours of community work service, attend narcotics anonymous meetings, and write a letter of apology to Kim.

The amended information charged Matsunaga with theft and criminal mischief. He and counsel assistant public defender Cindy Nesbit signed a plea deal with the government. The defendant pleaded guilty to the offense of theft.

Assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas appeared for the government.

According to the factual basis of the plea deal, Matsunaga unlawfully stole Kim’s red 1997 T-100 truck, including its rear differential, between May 20 and 23, 2016 on Saipan.

Police said it was Matsunaga’s brother who called the police because the victim is his tenant. The brother also complained that the suspect stole two of his 18,000 BTU split type air-conditioners and three window type air-conditioners.

Police later traced the stolen red Toyota T 100 to an auto repair shop in Illiyan, where they found out that they towed the truck after Matsunaga sold it for $350.

Police learned that it was Matsunaga who called the auto repair shop and sold the truck for $350. The shop bought the truck to use its parts.

The shop didn’t think that there’s problem with the truck because it was parked at Matsunaga’s residence.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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