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reporters@samoanews.com

MAN WHO ALLEGEDLY STOLE PURSE CONTAINING $15,000 CHARGED

Nesiasi Latu has been charged on allegations that he stole a purse belonging to a woman that contained $15,000. Latu is charged with stealing, a class C felony punishable by up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, a fine equal to twice the amount gained from the commission of said crime up to $20,000 — or both sentence and fine.

Latu was arraigned in the High Court yesterday after he waived his right to a preliminary examination in the District Court on Friday. During his arraignment he denied the charges against him before Chief Justice Michael Kruse.

According to the government’s case on December 25, 2010 police received a call regarding a woman whose purse was stolen.

The victim told police that when she arrived at home she got into an argument with another friend and then three Samoan boys showed up at her front door to check if everything was alright.

After they left, the victim said she went to lock her car only to find that the compartment of the vehicle was emptied out and her purse, which had contained  $15,000 was nowhere to be found.

Police upon arriving at the scene found one of the three Samoan men at the victim’s house.

The juvenile told police the he, the defendant and another juvenile saw the victim and her husband arguing with another man, and they went to see if the couple needed help. The juvenile said afterwards Latu asked if they wanted to go to Carl's Jr, and upon leaving, the defendant fetched a bag from under a mango tree near the area.

The juvenile further told police the defendant had given them money. Court filings state that police then apprehended the second juvenile who was with the defendant. Police retrieved an envelope from this juvenile which contained $9.00

The second juvenile corroborated the information which the first juvenile told police.

Police were able to apprehend the defendant the following day. Court records allege he told police that he saw the victim place her purse in the car. The defendant admitted that he opened the car, got inside, and saw the purse. It is alleged that he took the purse and hid it under the mango tree, where he fetched it later.

The defendant said he looked inside the purse and saw a lot of money and split it with the other juveniles. Then he threw the purse down a bridge. The government alleges the defendant admitted using some of the money for taxi rides, beer, and food .

Latu told police he did not know how much money he took and couldn’t recall how much he spent. He added that he also gave money to his friend in Alofau because he was drunk and couldn’t remember anything.

The defendant turned over $384.75 to police and the purse was located where $167.37 was found in the purse.

Police also patted down the defendant and found $1,093.00 on him. Police further contacted friends of the defendant whom he said he gave money to, and police seized from the defendant’s friends $200. The total of the cash collected was $1854.12, which was documented for evidence and released to the victim.

BURGLAR ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

A man charged in connection with a burglary at Tafuna High School last year July has admitted to breaking into the school. Pelasio So’otaga was recently released from jail following his conviction for another burglary, but has now entered his newest guilty plea in the High Court yesterday.  

The defendant, who remains in police custody, was charged with burglary first degree. However, he has pled guilty to the amended count of second degree burglary which is a lesser charge. Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for  December.

According to the government’s case, on July 5, 2011 THS reported to police that the main office had been broken into where $20 was taken from one of the desks inside the office and one classroom was broken into as well.  

Another teacher also reported to police that his classroom was broken into, saying the items had been tampered with but not removed from the classroom.

According to the government’s case, on Sept. 8, 2011 three men apprehended for a different THS burglary were the same suspects of the July 2011 burglary.

Investigating officers on Jan. 27, 2012 visited So’otaga at the Tafuna Correctional Facility, where So’otaga “immediately blurted out that he was not the only person involved.”

So’otaga, who was in TCF at the time, told investigating officers on Jan. 27, 2012 that he and two juveniles had been planning to break into THS, and then on July 1, 2011 they broke into the school.

IOSE JR LIAINA ENTERS GUILTY PLEA

A man accused of burglarizing a family home will be sentenced in December after he rendered a guilty plea before Chief Justice Michael Kruse. Iose Junior Liaina was charged with first degree burglary, stealing and property damage third degree, however in a plea agreement with the government he pleaded guilty to the amended charge of second degree burglary, while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.

The burglary charge is a class D felony which carries a jail term up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both fine and jail term. The CJ accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for the defendant on Dec. 11, 2012.

According to the government’s case the defendant broke into a home in Leone on February 26, 2012 and took a play station three (PS3), a watch, and black leather Under Armor sport shoes.

The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna.

PLEA DEAL FOR KASIANO TO BE FILED IN COURT

Assistant Public Defender Mike White informed the court that a plea agreement has been reached in the government’s case against Fa’afetai Kasiano in connection with an alleged attempted burglary in Koko Land.

The defendant is charged with attempted burglary first degree, property damage second degree and public peace disturbance. The defendant, who remains in custody, was in court for his pretrial conference when his lawyer told the court that they have reached a resolution in this matter however the proper paper work has yet to be filed in this case.

Assistant Attorney General Cecilia Reyna confirmed what the Assistant PD told the court. According to the government’s case, police received a call about the defendant who was allegedly pulling and pushing the main door to a store, and witnesses told police Kasiano struck and shattered a glass door with a baseball bat.

Kasiano is held on bail of $10,000 and is scheduled to appear in court again this Friday for his change of plea hearing.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER REMOVING PHONE FROM A SLEEPING MAN

Police arrested Tui Tito, who is charged with public peace disturbance on allegations that he was intoxicated and went to the Aeto Cab Taxi Stand where a taxi driver was sleeping and allegedly removed a cell phone from the sleeping man’s pocket.

According to the government’s case the man woke up and found the defendant trying to run away with his cell phone. Police were contacted and Tito was arrested and made his initial appearance in the District Court this morning.

Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe told Samoa News that she’s continuing investigation into this matter to determine if the government will charge the defendant with other criminal counts. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public defender Karen Shelley.



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