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Accused burglar claims he “didn’t take anything” — just the money

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 25-year-old male accused of burglarizing a store in Tafuna, along with several juveniles, told the court he didn't keep any of the stolen items, just the cash.

Fa’amanatu Alesana was initially charged with first degree burglary and stealing, both class C felonies, in addition to trespassing and third degree property damage, both class A misdemeanors.

But under a plea agreement with the government, Alesana pled guilty to stealing.

With his guilty plea, Alesana admits that during the early morning hours of Apr. 24, 2018 he and several juveniles broke into Chin Store in Tafuna and stole several items including electronic devices such as cell phones, speakers, and computer hard drives.

He said they also stole $360 cash that was inside the register.

When Chief Justice Michael Kruse asked the defendant what happened to the stuff he stole from the store, Alesana replied, “All those guys took it”.

“What did you take?” Kruse asked the defendant. Alesana was silent for a bit, then said, “I didn’t take anything.”

Kruse looked at the defendant for a moment before asking him whether he helped the juveniles steal items from the store. Alesana responded, “Yes, I was the one who stood outside while the juveniles were inside the store.”

“So did you keep any of the items that were stolen from the store?” Kruse asked again. Alesana shook his head.

“What’s your answer?” Kruse asked. Alesana replied, “No, I did not keep any items that were stolen from the store. I only took the money.”

The court has accepted Alesana’s guilty plea, and he’s remanded back to custody to await sentencing, set for Jan. 26, 2019.