Man burglarizes home and then allegedly sells the stolen items for 'ice' in Iliili
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Bail for Viane Soonalole was set at $20,000 when he was taken into custody pursuant to an arrest warrant. Soonalole made his initial appearance in District Court last Monday, April 22nd and he later waived his right to a preliminary examination.
His case is now in High Court.
Soonalole is charged with four felonies: two counts of stealing and two counts of second degree burglary.
According to the government's case, it was Jan. 28, 2019 when the victim walked into the DPS Tafuna Substation with Soonalole, who was turning himself in.
The victim had reported that Soonalole broke into his home, stole personal items, and later "exchanged those items for money and drugs at Logotala," according to the court affidavit.
The victim told police that he arrived home on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 to discover that the door to his room had been pried open. The victim said his room was in disarray, as the dresser drawer was open and other personal items were scattered across his bed.
The victim told police that items missing included a drill, grinder, a pair of gold chains (valued at $200-$300), two iPhones 6, a Samsung S6, a home surround sound speaker bar, android tablet, USB wires and portable mi-fi, a couple of hats, and coins (approximately $100 worth).
According to the victim, four days later on Jan. 27, he was approached by a witness who claimed to have information about the break-in, saying he saw Soonalole with one of the alleged stolen items.
In a written statement to police, the witness said that on Jan. 26, he was at home when he heard a phone ringing from Soonalole's laundry bag. The witness said the phone featured a photo of the victim's daughters as the screensaver.
He said he figured the phone must belong to the victim.
The witness said that on that same date, he saw Soonalole carrying a black tablet around the house. He said he knew the victim's room had been broken into, and that's when he relayed the information to him.
On Jan. 28, police interviewed Soonalole who allegedly confessed to the break-in, saying he did it on two separate occasions.
The first incident, according to Soonalole's statement to police, occurred during the morning hours of Jan. 23 during which he stole "gold chains, a home theater speaker, hats, iPhones, grinder, drill," and coins that were in a safe belonging to the victim.
Soonalole further stated that the very next day, Jan. 24, he broke into the victim's room again. This time, he stole a tablet and two hats. According to the government's case, Soonalole admitted to police that he took all the items "to Logotala in Iliili, where he exchanged them for $75 and two small baggies of methamphetamine" ($25 per baggie).
On Jan. 28, police went to Soonalole's residence in Mesepa in an effort to recover the stolen items, if any. Officers were only able to find an Alcatel mi-fi and 3 USB chargers — all of which were returned to the victim.
The government claims that on that same day, Jan. 28, police officers proceeded to Logotala "to follow up" on the victim's items.
According to police, as they were heading up the road, they saw "people… running behind the banana plantation." Police continued up the cement road but had to move a log that had blocked their path. "As they reached the top of Logotala, two males got up from under a coconut tree and vanished into the bushes, carrying a backpack," according to court documents.
Police were unable to recover any more of the victim's stolen property.