A 42-year-old Big Island man pleaded not guilty to first-degree theft in connection with the Oct. 13 theft of a 47-foot yacht from Honokohau Small Boat Harbor in North Kona.
Richard Joseph Sherwood entered his plea Wednesday before 3rd Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Strance. He is slated to go on trial at 8 a.m. March 18.
Bail for Sherwood was maintained at $25,000 during the hearing. He remains in Department of Public Safety custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
In addition, Strance mandated for Sherwood a geographic ban from the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor. He must also not contact the boat’s co-owner, Leonard Mascari.
Sherwood was charged with first-degree theft in connection with the theft of The Corsaire, a luxury yacht designed by William Gardner and built in Taiwan, according to the yacht’s co-owner Laura Mascari. The Mascaris had owned the boat, they valued at $495,000, since 1980.
Sherwood allegedly broke into the boat, packed a guitar and luggage aboard, then took it out of the harbor. The man reportedly asked a fisherman to help him get out of the slip, but only made it as far as 2 to 3 miles north to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park before running the vessel aground on the reef, just offshore of Aimakapa Fishpond.
According to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Hawaii District Boating Office, marine salvage company Pineapple Custom completed the removal of the vessel on Oct. 18. It was towed to a site designated by the U.S. Coast Guard and sunk. The owner’s insurance is covering the costs.
First-degree theft is a class B punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000, according to Hawaii Revised Statutes.