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Case dismissed against man accused of stealing from his Aunty

American Samoa High Court building
He lucked out when family declined to prosecute

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government case against a man from Pago Pago arrested and charged for burglarizing his aunty’s home and trading most of jewelry and “other stuff” that he stole, at a place called “Le Aute” has been now dismissed.

Faiaoga Satele, also known as Fred Satele was scheduled to appear before Associate Justice Fiti Sunia this week for a Status Hearing.

When the case was called, Prosecutor, Laura Garvey informed the court that the government had already filed a motion to dismiss the case against the defendant.

When asked for the reason, Garvey said that the victim had reached out to their office and informed the government that she and her husband no longer wanted to move forward with the case against Satele.

Garvey further stated that she also spoke to the daughter of the victim who told her that she supported her parents’ request.

Without any objection from the defense attorney, Rob McNeill, Sunia then granted the government’s motion, and ordered that the case against Satele be dismissed with prejudice. (A case dismissed with prejudice is over and done with, once and for all, and can't be brought back to court.)

It’s not clear at this time whether the government is also going to file a motion for dismissal for the case of the co-defendant, Anderson Ta’ala Jr, a.k.a. A.J.

Co-defendant, Ta’ala’s case is still pending in High Court. Ta’ala is charged with one count of receiving stolen property, a class C felony. He is still in custody, unable to post a $10,000 bond


Satele, had been held in custody since his arrest last year, unable to post a $15,000 surety bond, was charged with one count of second degree burglary; and two counts of stealing, class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a $5,000 fine or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment for each count.

The matter against Satele surfaced after police received a complaint from the defendant’s aunty in Pago Pago, regarding her home being burglarized by unknown people while they were in Apia for vacation in July of last year.

The victim told police that she and her family returned on Aug. 18th, from a three-week vacation in Apia to find that the front door of their home had been broken and several personal items were missing.

The reported missing items included: 3 laptops; miscellaneous electric tools; an Amazon tablet; a set of gold earrings; gold rings; a brand new sewing machine; two pairs of Nike sandals; a 22-caliber rifle; a portable vacuum; a stand-up vacuum; two fine mats; a weed whacker; a pair of Vans; and a samurai sword.

While officers were at the victim’s home on the night of Aug.18th, trying to collect evidence, a male, also from Pago Pago came forward and wanted to provide information that would help investigators with their case — pointing to Satele trying to sell the alleged stolen laptops.

A week later, the victim, along with another person, went to police and told them they believe another male is involved — as someone was selling the stolen items on a Facebook site called, “American Samoa Dealz and Stealz”, a community marketplace to buy and sell items in the two Samoas.

The victim took screenshots from the online site and sent them over to police, they included an image showing Satele holding a 22. caliber rifle, believed to be the same as the one taken during the alleged burglary.

Satele was picked up from his home in Pago and taken in for questioning. During the interview, he verbally admitted to the burglary, as well as trading most of the jewelry and other stuff at a place called, “Le Aute” for meth; while other items were given to his friend, Ta’ala Jr to sell online and to other acquaintances.

When asked about the missing 22., Satele denied taking the firearm, saying the photo of him on Facebook was with a rifle belonging to another person.

In his written statement, Satele noted down all the items he stole, along with the identities of the people to whom he sold the items.

The people were questioned by police, who confirmed buying stolen items from Satele, while one buyer noted she bought a laptop posted on the AS Dealz & Stealz site, and had no knowledge of it being stolen.

The government also alleges that illegal drugs were discovered on Satele when he was served a copy of the arrest warrant in September of last year for the burglary case.