Burglar of 4 separate jobs sentenced to 28 months in jail
A man responsible for four burglaries within three months during 2009 has been sentenced to serve 28 months in jail. Joe Pitolau was facing multiple charges in connection with four different cases between August and November 2009. As part of the plea agreement the defendant pled guilty to four counts of first degree burglary from each of the four cases against him, while the remaining charges were dismissed.
Each burglary count is a class B felony and is punishable with five to fifteen years in jail. During sentencing last Friday, the defendant apologized for his actions, to the court, the government, his family, his parents and especially the businesses that were involved.
“Please give me another chance to return home and care for my parents and serve my church and village” he said. The defendant pleaded with the court for a second chance to straighten out his life.
Assistant Public Defender Mike White, who represents the defendant, informed the court that the incident happened three years ago, when the defendant was 18-years old and since then he has changed. White said it’s puzzling to him as to why the defendant got into this situation, but he knows that the defendant understands and has accepted his responsibilities and he’s ready to accept his punishment.
White further stated the defendant told him that he was hanging around with the wrong people which led to these burglaries. Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde reminded the court about restitution of $1,995.75 to the Drug Store and left the sentence to the court’s discretion.
Chief Justice Michael Kruse asked the prosecutor if she knew why this case was sitting around for several years. Hyde informed the court that maybe it’s one of those cases that sat around on someone’s desk before it was filed.
Kruse noted the defendant is still in his youth, made an early admission and accepted responsibility and he agreed with White that the defendant has been a good citizen since the burglaries.
The defendant was sentenced to seven years on each of the four counts he’s charged with, however execution of sentence was suspended and he’s to serve 28 months without any release what-so-ever unless by court order or genuine medical release.
The defendant is to have no contact with the juveniles involved in these burglaries, and must remain a law abiding citizen. He must also make restitution in the amount of $1,995.75.
FIRST CASE: BREAKING INTO ECE CENTER IN 2009
The first case against Pitolau occurred on Aug. 27, 2009, in connection with the Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Fagatogo. A teacher at the ECE told police that while conducting an inventory of the equipment in the lab, she noticed that four laptops and two computer speakers were missing.
The government claims that the laptops were estimated to be valued at $1,100 each. Police investigation claimed that the defendant along with two juveniles broke into the ECE. The defendant, Pitolau, admitted that he took one laptop and computer speakers while the other juvenile took the other laptops.
Pitolau told police when they left the ECE center, they went to the Fagatogo Pavilion field, but they hid the laptops near the Rainmaker Hotel for Pitolau to pick up the next day. Police went with Pitolau and seized two laptop computers, which were later verified as belonging to the ECE Center and Ray’s Audio Shop.
SECOND CASE: BREAKING INTO DOE E-RATE OFFICE IN 2009
The second case against the defendant occurred In September 2009. This matter is in connection with breaking into the Department of Education’s E-rate office where four laptops were removed from the office. According to the government’s case an employee of DOE received a call about the defendant and several other boys dancing and hanging out at the Pavilion playing music from a laptop and multimedia speakers.
The employee approached the crowd and saw that the laptop and speakers had the government seal on them. It’s alleged this was when the defendant ran away. The DOE employee took a juvenile along with the laptop and speakers to the police station.
The juvenile admitted to police that he took speakers while Pitolau took four laptops and they exited through a window. The juvenile said Pitolau sold one laptop to a female for $60. The woman told police the defendant sold her a laptop saying that it was a gift from his father. The laptop had since been turned into the police as evidence.
THIRD CASE: BREAKING INTO WESLEY BOOK STORE IN 2009
The third case against Pitolau occurred on Nov. 2, 2009, at the Wesley Book Store in Fagatogo. According to the government’s case, the only items missing were some cross pins worth about $3.00 a piece. The government claims that the cost to repair the damages is valued at $150.00. The defendant admitted to the police that he and another person had broken into the bookstore.
FOURTH CASE: DRUG STORE BREAK IN IN 2009
The last case against Pitolau occurred on Nov. 12, 2009 at the Drug Store in Fagaalu. Pitolau said he and three boys were walking home from the hospital, when they decided to burglarize the Drug Store.
According to the government’s case, Pitolau admitted that he and his friend burglarized the Drug store by entering through the ceiling by removing the masonite.
Pitolau said he was no longer in possession of anything that was stolen from the Drug Store and he had forgotten who he gave it to. The items that had been damaged from this break in and the total value of the items stolen were totaled at $1,995.75. Items stolen included phone cards, jewelry, cologne and aftershave, slippers, candy, sunglasses, purses, CD players, sodas and water.
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