Defendant tells Kruse: I took the cash, those other guys took the stuff
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 19-year-old male who was accused of burglarizing - with several juveniles - a store in Tafuna, told the court he didn't keep any of the stolen items, just the cash.
Vilitoni Vi was initially charged with first degree burglary and stealing - both class C felonies - in addition to trespass and 3rd degree property damage, both class A misdemeanors.
But under a plea agreement with the government, Vi pled guilty to stealing.
With his guilty plea, Vi admits that during the early hours of Aug. 24, 2017 he and several juveniles broke into SSAB Store in Tafuna without permission and stole several items including electronic devices such as cell phones, speakers, and computer hard drives.
He said they also stole $460 that was inside the cash register.
When Chief Justice Michael Kruse asked the defendant what happened to the stuff he stole from the store, Vi told the court, “all those guys took it.”
“What did you take?” Kruse asked the defendant. Vi was silent for a moment, 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. Vi 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. Vi shook his head, side to side.
“What’s your answer?” Kruse asked. Vi answered, “No, I did not keep any items that were stolen from the store. I only took the money.”
The court has accepted Vi’s guilty plea, and he’s remanded back to custody to await sentencing, set for July 6th.
A young man who was accused of stealing money from his former employer was released from TCF yesterday, after the High Court granted the government’s motion to dismiss the case against him.
Tasiivavaluvalu Tapuala appeared before Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea on the government’s motion to dismiss.
Prosecutor Woodrow Pengelly told the court that a representative from the company came to their office last week and informed him that they are unable to confirm whether Tapuala stole any money from the company, because most of their invoices are mixed up and they cannot confirm anything if the case goes to trial.
With that being said, Pengelly then asked the court to dismiss the case against Tapuala.
Acting Public Defender Michael White represented Tapuala, who has been in custody since he was arrested earlier this year in February.
Tapuala was initially charged with embezzlement and stealing, both felonies. The government had accused him of stealing more than $100 from his former employer.
After the court granted the government’s motion, Patea ordered Tapuala to be released from the TCF.
(Court documents do not identify the business.)