Suspects arrested in Bank of Hawaii/ KFC break ins


 The Criminal Investigation Division with the Department of Public Safety has arrested suspects in connection with the recent break ins at Bank of Hawai’i KFC and Pizza Hut. The suspects are inmates who are currently serving jail time for prior criminal convictions.

Last Friday, CID Commander Lavatai Ta’ase Sagapolutele led a shakedown at the Tafuna Correctional Facility at the prison cell of the inmates who allegedly broke out of jail and attempted to burglarize two separate businesses on the Tafuna Airport Road. 

Samoa News understands the suspects who broke out of jail were recently sentenced for a series of store burglaries in Leone.

Bottles of beer, a flat screen TV, screw drivers, tools, fans and cell phones were among the items that were seized from the prison cells where the suspects were housed at the TCF following the raid.

TCF officers told Samoa News that two police trucks were fully loaded with items seized during the raid. It’s not clear at this time if the items seized are evidence, or just items that are not allowed in the TCF and yet found during the raid.

Deputy Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli told Samoa News that a raid was carried out and the suspects have been arrested. However the Deputy Commissioner declined to further comment on this issue, noting that investigations into the attempted burglaries are continuing.

Head of the CID, Commander Lavatai Ta’ase Sagapolutele declined to give details about the shakedown noting that investigations are ongoing, and there are sensitive issues surrounding this case.  

Assisting CID detectives in the raid were police officers with the Traffic Division and the Marine Patrol Division. The Commissioner of Public Safety Tuaolo Manaia Fruean, Deputy Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli and Chief of Police Vaimaga Maiava were also at TCF while police officers were conducting the shakedown.

Earlier this month the Bank of Hawai’i Tafuna branch was broken into during the early morning hours of July 6, 2012, as was KFC and Pizza Hut.

The glass from the small windows located close to the ceiling at the back section of the bank building lay strewn on the ground and the bank's ATM machine appeared damaged as if someone had tried unsuccessfully to pry it open.

Samoa News understands that the footage from the bank video surveillance captured the suspects entering the bank through the window and trying to open the vault inside the bank. Their attempts were unsuccessful.

The suspects' faces were covered with what appeared to be black t-shirts.

Samoa News understands that the footage captured the night in question has also been sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Hawai’i.

The suspects also broke into the Pizza Hut and KFC restaurants after they allegedly broke into the bank. The suspects gained entrance into the restaurants by breaking the glass front door.

At the time of the incident a Pizza Hut employee who was at the restaurant told Samoa News that it appears that the robbers had tried to get into the safe, which does not hold any money overnight.

The employee said the only thing missing was the small Red Cross donation container that was on the counter. The employee didn’t know how much money was in the collection container.

Earlier this month Commissioner Tuaolo made personnel changes within the DPS noting “dishonesty, immoral behavior and alleged criminal conduct” following the break-ins at the Bank of Hawai’i and restaurants.

He said he has witnessed dishonesty in job performances, immoral behavior and allegedly criminal conduct in which some DPS employees are allegedly involved.


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