Alleged Tafeta burglar is arrested and charged
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of burglarizing a Tafeta apartment a few months ago has been arrested and is now in custody, with bail set at $10K.
Ululoloa Sioka made his initial appearance in District Court last Friday. He is charged with second degree burglary and stealing, both class C felonies, punishable by a jail term of up to 7 years, a $5,000 fine or, pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20K, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Preliminary examination (PX) is this morning.
On July 11th, a woman called the Tafuna Substation to report a Tafeta apartment burglary. When cops arrived, they observed that several bedrooms had been ransacked and a red safe was found under the porch.
According to the caller, on July 10th, her boss asked her to check on her apartment, to make sure it was secure. The woman said she and others went to the apartment and everything was squared away, they even turned the lights on.
The next morning, July 11th, the woman and another female returned to the apartment and noticed that the lights were off and the screen door was locked from the inside. The two women inspected the property and noticed the safe under the porch. The apartment had been ransacked.
Police spoke to another female who said that on July 10th, at a little past midnight, she observed an unknown male walking on the driveway at the Haleck compound in Tafeta. She said she asked the man what he was looking for and he said water, claiming that the water in his village had been cut off.
According to the witness, the male walked towards the Stevenson apartment complex and disappeared into the brush. But before he did, she took pictures of him. The man was later identified as Sioka — the defendant — who was connected to a previous burglary and had an arrest warrant out in his name.
When questioned by police, the victim said she packed her suitcase around midnight Wednesday, July 10th and after placing her bags in the car, she realized that she didn’t have her car keys. She said she called her employees to drop off her keys and to check on the apartment while she is in Apia.
According to the victim, the missing items included: a safe (recovered outside the residence); 3 black pearl necklaces worth $15K; black pearl earrings worth $3K; black pearl bracelet worth $600; red and brown ula nifo; gold jewelry worth $5K; birth certificates, checkbook, and savings bonds; a laptop; Samsung cellphone; sunglasses; and an XBox handset. On the morning of July 11th, investigators got a huge break when an 18-year-old male contacted the Tafuna Substation and said he was present when Sioka and another male (whose name is mentioned in the affidavit) came with a backpack. The two men had gold chains and checks.
The witness told police they didn’t make it to work on time that day, so they went to a store, next to the Haleck compound, and that’s when Sioka asked him and another male who was present, if he could use their car to sell off some items including a speaker, light, and gold chains.
On July 12th, investigators spoke to a known associate of Sioka’s, and asked him to set up a meeting with him. The man was not to let Sioka know that police would show up.
Sioka took the bait and agreed to meet. Several cops turned up and apprehended him. Sioka was cuffed and placed in the police unit, but he attempted to flee by jumping through the open driver’s side window.
When questioned, Sioka told police that he and another male entered the Haleck apartment through the back door. He said he took some jewelry and carried the safe outside but was unsuccessful in breaking it.
Sioka said his partner took some items but he is unsure what they were, adding that he returned some of the jewelry back to the victim and he was trying to figure out how to return the rest of the stolen items.
When asked if the 18-yr-old witness accompanied him during the burglary, Sioka said no. When Sioka was booked, he was wearing gold jewelry which the victim — who was contacted to come by and identify the pieces — said belonged to her.
According to the victim, a male came by and returned 3 rings and 2 necklaces to her, saying the items were bought from Sioka at an unknown day and time. The man told police that on July 11th, he received a necklace and rings from Sioka, and he sold Sioka fake drugs for the jewelry, and then planned to set him up with the police during a subsequent jewelry buy on Saturday.