Cannery worker alleged to have robbed a store in Amaluia
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of punching the cashier of a store in Amaluia, before taking off with $500 cash was taken into custody pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court.
Tauilevanu Mose made his initial appearance in District Court last week. He is charged with one count of first degree robbery; one count of stealing - both felonies; and third degree assault, a class A misdemeanor. Bail is set at $25,000 and the preliminary examination is Friday, Dec. 27th
Defense attorney Bob Stuart asked for a reduction in bail, saying the case is based on allegations, and Mose has no prior record. He said his client is a hardworking man and his family needs him to support them financially. Prosecutor Laura Garvey opposed the motion, saying Mose’s action were serious and he’s a danger to the community, and also a flight risk. Judge Elvis Patea agreed and denied the motion.
On the night of Dec. 12th, the owner of a store in Amaluia called police, saying a male stole $500 from her store.
The store owner told police that while she was counting her money, getting ready to close the shop, an unknown male walked in, grabbed a beer can from the fridge, and walked towards her. She said she asked him for ID to verify his age but the male shoved her, causing her to fall down while he took off on foot. The woman said she got up, called out to her husband, and went outside looking for the man.
According to her, she approached another male who was outside on his phone, and asked him for help, but he ignored her. Meanwhile, the suspect was nowhere to be found, and he had taken off with $500 cash from the store.
The victim showed investigators footage from the store’s camera which showed the man grabbing the money from under the table after he shoved the victim, who did not sustain any physical injuries.
A search for the culprit that night was unsuccessful. But the following afternoon, police went back to the scene for a follow-up. That’s where they met two males who were able to identify the man in the footage as Tauilevanu Mose, a cannery worker.
Communication was made with cannery officials who confirmed that Mose was at the compound at that time. Cops picked him up and took him in for questioning. At the station, Mose at first refused to make a statement but later changed his mind. According to him, he entered the store and saw the female cashier counting money on the counter, so he bought a can of Woodstock and went outside. After drinking - about 15 minutes - he reentered the store for the purpose of stealing money. He said he went to the fridge, grabbed a Woodstock, and walked towards the cashier.
“As I was walking towards the cashier, someone was pushing my heart and said, do it right now before it’s too late. Push her and take everything and go,” according to Mose’s verbal statement to police. Once he was close to the cashier, Mose said he shoved her, she fell down, he reached over the counter and took the money - which was under the counter -then he ran off while the victim pursued him.
Mose told police he did it because he needed money to buy food for himself and his family. He said that after he took the money, he went to a nearby bush and hid $380 and took only $120. He added that after he left the scene, he ran into a friend (unknown individual he refused to identify), who gave him a cellphone he used to call a taxi. He was picked up by a cab and went to Mesepa, bought some groceries, and then headed back to his house.
Officers went to where Mose said he hid the rest of the money. The search was unsuccessful, the money was never recovered.