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Men involved in Leone burglary spree enter plea agreements

reporters@samoanews.com

The three men charged for a spree of burglaries in Leone in January 2012 have entered into a plea agreement with the government. The defendants are Chris Aumua, Siaosi Va’a, Jr. and Ryan Pite.

Pite is charged in connection with two separate cases — one on January 8, 2012 and the second case occurring the next day. In the first case Pite is charged together with Aumua, and in the second case he is charged together with Va’a, Jr.

FIRST CASE

Aumua is accused of conspiring with Pite to break into Captain Mart in Leone, where according to the government’s case, Aumua stood outside the store while Pite broke into the store and removed merchandise.

Aumua is charged with first degree burglary, property damage in the third degree, conspiracy to commit burglary first degree and stealing. In the plea agreement with the government Aumua pled guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary and stealing while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.

By Aumua’s guilty plea he admits that on January 8, 2012 he conspired with Pite to break into the Captain Mart and act as a lookout for Pite, who unlawfully entered the store and removed various merchandise valued at more than $100.

Pite in this case is charged with robbery first degree, burglary first degree, stealing, conspiracy to commit burglary and property damage third degree.

In the plea agreement with the government, Pite pleaded guilty to the amended charge of robbery second degree, burglary first degree and stealing, while the remaining charges were dismissed.

According to the plea agreement, upon Pite’s guilty plea he admits that on the day in question, he stole a case of beer by running out without paying and in the process pushed the victim (the Chinese cashier), who was left with a bruise on her leg.

According to the plea agreement, Pite and Aumua have agreed to pay restitution to Captain Mart’s store.

SECOND CASE

The second case occurred on January 9, 2012, where the defendants Pite and Va’a Jr. are charged in connection with burglarizing one store and attempting to burglarize two other stores in the same area.

The pair is each charged with two charges of attempted burglary second degree, burglary first degree, conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree, stealing and three misdemeanor charges of property damage in the third degree.

Va’a and Pite both pleaded guilty to burglary first degree, attempted burglary and stealing while the government moved to dismiss the remaining charges.

According to the plea agreement, upon their guilty plea they admit that on January 9, 2012 they tried to break into the Super Star store by attempting to pry open a back door to the store. In the process they damaged the door.

The defendants also admit that they broke the front door to Lemau’s store and attempted to crawl in, however they were thwarted when the owner of the store was inside holding a hammer. The defendants also removed a video surveillance camera and took off with it.

They also admitted they used rocks to smash a glass window at Leone Store where they reached into the store and stole boxes of candy and gum valued over a $100.

Pite and Va’a have agreed to pay restitution for the surveillance video camera they stole and for the merchandise that was not recovered.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr. told the three defendants that the court is not bound by the recommendations made by the defendant’s lawyers and prosecutors. He reminded them that the court has the sole responsibility for deciding appropriate sentences within the limits of the law. Pite, Aumua and Va’a told the court they understood.

The Associate Justice accepted the plea agreement for all three defendants, dismissed the remaining charges against them and scheduled sentencing on May 31, 2012. Richmond also ordered a pre-sentenced report on these matters.

The defendants were presented by Assistant Public Defender Michael White while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Cable Poag.

(Samoa version of this story, “Ta’utino se alii e fa faleoloa sa ia osofaia ma ave faagaoi ni oloa”, can be found in Le Lali section.)



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