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Man who burglarized store along with juvenile accomplice admits charges

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 29-year-old man from Kokoland accused of burglarizing a store in Tafuna and taking off with several items has admitted to the allegations against him.

Tevita Peniata, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $10,000 surety bond appeared in High Court two weeks ago for a Change of Plea hearing.

Peniata 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, Peniata 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, Peniata admits that on Nov. 24, 2020 he unlawfully entered a store in Petesa with a juvenile, and while in the store, they stole 4 cartons of cigarettes and two cases of corned beef, along with a small bottle containing coins totaling $232.

According to terms of the plea agreement, Peniata 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 the 4 cartons of cigarettes to another man for $60

As part of the plea agreement, the government is recommending to the court to order Peniata to pay $232 restitution. Sentencing is Dec. 19th and Peniata was remanded back to custody.