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Man in custody accused of trying to kidnap woman at knife point

American Samoa District Court building
… also facing burglary and drug charges

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of trying to kidnap a woman in Pago Pago last month is now in custody after he was arrested for public peace disturbance. Tevita Va’afa’i, 42, made his initial appearance in District Court last week.

He is charged in 3 separate cases:

In the first case, he’s charged with second degree assault and kidnapping — both felonies, along with one count of disturbing the public peace (PPD), a class C misdemeanor. In the second case, he’s charged with first degree burglary and stealing — both felonies, and one misdemeanor charge of third degree property damage. In the third case, he is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of marijuana — both felonies.

Bail is set at $30,000 and the preliminary examination is Friday, Jan. 10th.

Police apprehended the defendant during a PPD in Pago on Dec. 29, 2019 and he was subsequently taken in for questioning. Va’afa’i verbally admitted to police that he was responsible for burglarizing a home in Pago on Sept. 21, 2019 and taking off with several items while the owners were off island.

The government claims that illegal drugs were found on Va’afa’i when he was taken in.


On Dec. 29, 2019, police were contacted by a woman from Pago, claiming that a man allegedly assaulted her and put a knife to her neck while trying to kidnap her. According to the victim, Va’afa’i came to her home and asked if they could hang out for the night. She said she agreed and they had a good time, although Vaafa’i was drunk.

The victim said it was late and she wanted to go to bed so she asked Vaafa’i to leave but he refused and asked if he could stay the night. The victim disagreed and told Va’afa’i they hadn’t discussed anything about him sleeping over.

That’s when she said Vaafa’i punched her in the face, causing her to fall down. Vaafa’i then allegedly pulled a knife from his bag and put it on her neck, telling her to comply with everything he says or he would kill her. The victim said Vaafa’i tried to pull her into her room but she did her best to push him away. She said she told him to stop what he was doing or she was going to call the police. After 15 minutes, Vaafa’i gave up and told the victim that if she contacts the authorities, he will return to her house and kill her.

Police went looking for Vaafa’i after they interviewed the victim, and found him in front of a store not far from where the alleged incident took place. When he saw police approaching, Vaafa’i threw the bag he was carrying, on other side of the store. When asked why he did that, Vaafa’i told police he didn’t want to get caught with the stuff in the bag. The stuff didn’t belong to him.

Police retrieved the bag  and inside, they found two small baggies — one containing a white crystalline substance, and another containing a green leafy substance. Both tested positive for meth and marijuana, respectively. Vaafa’i claims he found the bag in front of the store before police pulled in and arrested him.

He denied putting a knife to the victim’s neck, saying the victim is his longtime girlfriend, who is also the mother of his 3-year-old son. He did admit to punching her in the face, however.

For the burglary case, Vaafa’i admitted that he was responsible, and he did it with the help of two other males. The family was off island when Vaafa’i and his accomplices broke into their Pago home and took off with cell phones; laptops; electronics tools; clothes; shoes and two big fine mats.

According to Vaafa’i’s confession, all three of them were in the house. He said he went to the bedroom and stole 2 fine mats; clothes and shoes, while the other two males stole miscellaneous electronic items. Vaafa’i told police he sold the items he stole to a taxi driver from Vaitogi for drugs. Samoa News understands police are still looking for the other two suspects.