Court Report — Burglary, theft, peeping — on the calendar

ANDREW APELU
ausage@samoanews.com

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 38-year-old man who was convicted of stealing — and later selling — a tool box containing tools belonging to a mechanic has been ordered to pay a $1,000 fine as a condition of his 7-year probation sentence.

Andrew Apelu was convicted of stealing — a felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of seven years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

During sentencing, Apelu apologized to the court for what he did and asked for a second chance to return home to his family. He also apologized to the company that was affected by his actions and promised the court he will never do it again.

His attorney, deputy public defender Michael White and the prosecutor, deputy attorney general Robert Morris asked the court for a probated sentence without any jail time.

Morris informed the court that the defendant stole the toolbox and then sold it to a third party who has since returned the toolbox to its owner, and the defendant has already paid back to the third party the money he received for the sale of the toolbox.

Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea told Apelu that in the year since this matter has been dragging on, it has presented unusual circumstances.

Patea said the court normally goes straight to sentencing after a 'change of plea' within a month, but in this case, the one year period during which the case has been stalled, has been to his advantage because it has given the court the opportunity to see his behavior out in public, and he has done well, which tells the court he is someone who'll do well on probation.

The court sentenced Apelu to 7 years probation, under the condition that he serves 28 months in jail. The defendant was credited for the 69 days he served in prison last year, and the balance of his detention term is stayed, as long as he complies with all conditions of his probation.

He is also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine within 6 months, and he is not to make contact with the company that was affected by his actions.

He is to remain a law-abiding citizen, and report to the probation office whenever he is ordered to do so.

ANESI FILITOGA

A 19-year-old male who is being accused of walking around his neighborhood peeking into family homes has been arrested and charged with public peace disturbance and underage drinking.

Anesi Filitoga made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia last week, where he was ordered to pay a $100 bond before he can be released from prison.

Once he pays up, he is ordered to stay away from the homes of the families that were allegedly affected by his actions.

According to the government, it was around 1:17 a.m. on Mar. 20th that a woman from Malaeloa called the Leone Sub-station regarding a kid walking around their neighborhood peeking into homes.

Officers who responded to the call noticed a young kid walking on the road near the area where the call came from. He was later identified as Filitoga

While police officers were talking to Filitoga, another male approached them aggressively and informed them that this was the guy who peeked into their home.

Filitoga was immediately placed in the police unit for safety reasons while police interviewed the witness who said it was his wife who called police for assistance, because the defendant followed his sister-in-law to their house.

The witness said Filitoga didn't leave but instead, was peeking into their house until he chased him away.

When asked by police how he knew the witness's sister-in-law, Filitoga said they met at a party and the lady had asked him to come by her house to hang out.

When police questioned the woman, she confirmed that she saw the defendant at a party, but she didn't know where he's from or who he is.

She denied telling him to come over to the house to hang out.

During questioning, police detected a strong odor of alcohol on Filitoga, whose next court appearance is set for Apr. 12th.

TAVITA FA’AMANATU-FIDOW

A man suspected of burglarizing the home of an Asian couple in Nu’uuli has been charged for interfering with a police investigation.

Tavita Faamanatu-Fidow is facing two misdemeanor charges: public peace disturbance and interfering with a police investigation. He made his initial appearance in District Court last week, where Judge Fiti Sunia set bail at $200.

If he's able to post bond, Faamanatu-Fidow is ordered to stay away from the home of the couple, and he is not to have any direct or indirect contact with the plaintiffs or any of the government's witnesses.

According to police, at around 11:23 p.m. on Mar 21st, the landlord — an elderly Samoan lady — contacted police about a burglary. An Asian couple rents the home in question.

When police arrived at the scene, they spoke to the landlord and in the middle of the conversation, a male, later identified as the defendant, entered the house uninvited and yelled at the landlord's son saying, he didn't break into the house.

Faamanatu-Fidow, in the presence of police, then tried to pick a fight with the landlord's son, asking him, "What do you want?"

Even after police officers ordered him to get out of the house and leave the property, Faamanatu-Fidow continued to threaten the landlord's son, clenching his fists and telling him, "You'll see what I'm going to do to you!"

Police officers arrested the defendant for interfering with their investigation.

According to the police affidavit, before Faamanatu-Fidow was escorted out of the house, the Asian couple identified him as one of the people present when the Asian man was robbed two weeks before, while he was in possession of a bag containing $1,980 cash, three personal phones, and multiple identification cards.

Faamanatu-Fidow is scheduled to appear in court on Apr. 12th for a pretrial conference.

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