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Court sentences man who burglarized Tafuna store — no items ever recovered

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 24-year-old man from Tafuna who, along with a co-defendant, broke into an Asian store in Tafuna and stole about $,3000 worth of goods - none of which were recovered - was ordered last week to pay restitution of $3,000 to the store, after he serves 28 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).

Albert “Pati” Faletoi Jr was originally charged with stealing and second degree burglary, both class C felonies. But under a plea agreement with the government, he pled guilty to stealing. The remaining charge was dismissed.

Faletoi Jr admits that on March 13, 2018 he unlawfully entered an Asian store in Tafuna and, along with his co-defendant, stole items worth $3,000.

Faletoi Jr apologized for his actions and asked for forgiveness. “What I did was bring shame to my family and myself. What was written in the newspaper about my case makes me embarrassed and I want to change my life and do good things. I’m truly remorseful and I want to go back home and care for my parents,” he said.

According to Faletoi Jr., his father is unemployed and he stays home because he’s disabled and can’t walk.

Defense attorney, Ryan Anderson told the court that his client made a terrible mistake. Not only did he break the law, but he also set a bad example for the juveniles he allowed to be involved in the burglary.

“I hope that the period Faletoi Jr spent in prison will wake him up and change his path, because if he continues to live like this, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars, or end up in a different place, including the hospital. He’s really young and he has a bright future ahead of him,” Anderson said.

He asked for a probated sentence, so his client can get a job to pay his fine and restitution.

Prosecutor Doug Lowe also asked for a probated sentence, including a period of detention. He said that despite the fact that the defendant has no prior criminal record, what he did was serious and he has to face the consequences of his actions.

Faletoi Jr was sentenced to 7 years in jail. Execution of sentence is suspended and he is placed on probation for 7 years with conditions. He has to serve 28 months without release, and pay $3,000 restitution to the store. After serving one year in jail, the defendant is eligible for work release, provided he finds a job to pay restitution.

He is not to make any contact with his co-defendant, and he is to stay away from the store he burglarized. He is also to remain alcohol and drug free.