Court hears multiple burglary cases — meth involved in one
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of burglarizing a home in Happy Valley two months ago has been arrested and is now in custody, with bail set at $15,000.
Kalolo Saolotoga Jr made his initial appearance in District Court last month.
He is charged with second degree burglary and stealing, both class C felonies, punishable by up to 7 years in jail, 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 $20K, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Preliminary examination is next week.
On the early morning of Mar. 23rd, 2021, an elderly woman called police to report that her home had been burglarized. When cops arrived, they observed that several bedrooms had been ransacked and a red safe was found under the porch.
According to the caller, on Mar. 22nd, she asked her daughter to check on their house, to make sure it was secure. The woman said she and her daughter and her husband went to the house and everything was squared away. They closed the steel fence and locked it.
The next morning, Mar. 23 the woman’s daughter and her husband returned to the house and noticed that the screen door was locked from the inside. They inspected the property and noticed the back door was damaged and the house had been ransacked.
Several police officers responded to the call. One week later, officers spoke to an eye-witness who stated that two young men approached him a week ago and asked for a cigarette and a lighter. He gave it to them, and they then returned to a vehicle parked in front of the victim’s house.
The eye-witness told officers that the vehicle was a white pick-up, and gave its license plate number. Officers tracked down the plate of the vehicle and discovered that the vehicle is registered under the name of Julia Tagaloa of Iliili.
Officers contacted Mrs. Tagaloa and informed her about the situation. Tagaloa agreed to come to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further discussion of on the matter. According to Mrs. Tagaloa, the vehicle belongs to her and was used by a church family friend for their birthday party. Mrs. Tagaloa provided the names of the couple from their church who borrowed her vehicle and officers were able to contact them regarding the situation, and they agreed to come to the TPS for further discussion on the matter.
Officers questioned the couple and they confirmed that they borrowed the vehicle belonging to the Tagaloa family for five days, starting from Mar. 21- 26. According to the couple, it was their son Kalolo Sa’olotoga Jr who drove the vehicle on the night of Mar. 22.
Sa’olotoga Jr was brought into the TPS for questioning and the witness was also present to confirm to officers that Saolotoga Jr was one of the two young men who approached him for a cigarette.
When questioned, Saolotoga Jr admitted that he and another male robbed the home, and they sold some of the stolen items while other items were still at his place.
Before Saolotoga Jr was interviewed, a body search was carried out, and police found a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance, which tested positive for meth. When asked about the glass pipe, Saolotoga Jr said it was a gift from one of his friends in Iliili after he gave him several power tools he stole from a Kokoland home.
According to the victim, a male came by and returned several stolen items to her, saying the items were bought from Saolotoga Jr at an unknown day and time. The man told police that on Nov. 11th, he received a pair of shoes and a laptop from Saolotoga Jr.
The government is yet to file a second case against Saolotoga Jr for the glass pipe containing meth that was allegedly found on him.
Police are still looking for the second suspect in this case.
A 25-year-old man from Tafuna accused of burglarizing a store in Petesa and taking off with several items has admitted to the allegations against him.
Jeremiah Uputaua, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $10,000 surety bond appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.
Uputaua was initially charged with stealing and first-degree burglary, both class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
However, under a plea agreement with the government, accepted by the court, Uputaua agreed to plead guilty to the amended count of conspiracy to commit stealing, a class D felony, punishable by a jail term of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
With his guilty plea, Uputaua admits that on Aug. 12, 2020 he unlawfully entered an Asian store in Petesa with a juvenile, and while in the store, they stole several items totaling $490.
According to terms of the plea agreement, Uputaua assisted the two juveniles by helping them steal items and then using his truck to transport the stolen goods to his home, where he later sold other stolen items to another man for $100.
As part of the plea agreement, the government is recommending to the court for Uputaua to pay $410 restitution. Sentencing is next month and Uputaua was remanded back into custody.