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Bench warrant executed for man convicted for involvement in 2017 Tafuna High School burglary

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man with a 2-year-old bench warrant for failure to appear in court for a disposition hearing last month was arrested by police last week and he’s now in custody.

Mapu Tuulau made his initial appearance in Court last week, and his next hearing is scheduled for next month.

His probation review stems from a case in 2017, when he was convicted for his involvement in burglarizing Tafuna High School classrooms and the school’s main office, stealing several items.

When questioned by police, two juveniles identified Tuulau as being involved in the burglary. According to the minors, Tuulau served as the ‘lookout’, while they — along with 2 male adults — entered the classrooms and the school’s main office and removed the computers and accessories.

On Oct. 10, 2017, Tuulau was sentenced to 7 years probation after he pled guilty to stealing. As a condition, Tuulau was ordered to serve 28 months and remain law abiding.

In 2020, Tuulau was convicted in District Court for stealing, a class A misdemeanor — a clear violation of the conditions set forth in his 2012 probation sentence handed down in High Court.

On Aug. 21, 2021, Matu’u was scheduled to appear in High Court for a Disposition Hearing; however, he failed to appear.

That’s when a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Last week, Tuulau was apprehended by police at his parents’ home after he went there and reportedly disturbed the peace. He is now remanded to custody without bail, awaiting his next court appearance.