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Arrest in attempted break in yields some "green leafy substance"

Just say no to marijuana

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 24-year-old man is being charged with unlawful possession of drugs and for allegedly trying to break into a store in Nu’uuli.

Vincent Tapeni made his initial appearance in court two weeks ago.

Tapeni, 29, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, and second degree attempted burglary — both class D felonies, along with 3rd degree assault and disturbing the public peace (PPD), both class A misdemeanors.

Bond is set at $5,000.


Police were alerted by a man who reported that a young male tried to break in to a Nu’uuli store by trying to damage the side window in an effort to gain entry inside on the night of June 5th.

Police responded to the call but were unable to locate the suspect. Two days later, the same caller contacted police again, telling them that the man he saw trying to break into the store was one of the two young men who assaulted his son during a volleyball game.

Police responded to the call and saw a crowd of people gathering in front of the house of the man who contacted police.

The man pointed police to Tapeni who was standing on the other side of the road holding a metal pipe in his right hand.

Police approached Tapeni and asked him to come with them to the station to discuss an important issue. While speaking to police, Tapeni turned and ran and a foot chase ensued.

With the help of other villagers, Tapeni was apprehended and transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning. Prior to that, a body search of Tapeni netted two hand rolled marijuana joints inside his pocket.

Tapeni told police that his friend from Vaitogi gave him the marijuana joints but didn’t reveal his friend’s name. When asked about his involvement in the alleged attempted break-in at a Nu’uuli store, Tapeni told police that it was his friend’s idea to burglarize the store, however, they left the scene after a man scolded them.

The green leafy substance from the two joints tested positive for marijuana.