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Six months later, man spotted and arrested for alleged attempted burglary

American Samoa District Court building
Also allegedly found with marijuana when arrested

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The government has charged a 22-year-old man with unlawful possession of illegal drugs and attempting to break into a store in Ottoville in February of this year. Aleki Senetala made his initial appearance in District Court last week.

Senetala, who is on probation after being convicted of stealing and burglary 4 years ago is charged with unlawful possession of the controlled substance, marijuana, resisting arrest and attempted burglary in the second degree — all class D felonies, along with disturbing the public peace (PPD), a class B misdemeanor.

Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea established Senetala’s bond at $15,000. If he posts bond, the court has ordered the usual restrictions, including he not set foot in the store he allegedly tried to break into and not make any contact with the government's witnesses.


According to the government’s case, a woman informed police about a male who tried to break into a store in Ottoville on the early morning of Feb.12, 2020 by trying to damage the side window of the building. The woman was inside her vehicle which was parked in front of her boyfriend’s home across from the store when she saw the alleged crime and immediately called police.

Police responded to the call but were unable to locate the suspect as the man had fled the scene before police units arrived.

Another eyewitness who was near the scene when police arrived told officers that the man who attempted to break into the store used to live at his uncle’s house a few years back.

Police interviewed the lady who reported the alleged incident and she immediately identified the suspect to police as Aleki Senetala. The witness told officers that she always sees Senetala around the area but she didn’t know exactly where he lives.

Efforts to locate the suspect were unsuccessful at the time, however, two weeks ago, Aug. 10th, the same woman contacted police, telling them the man she saw trying to break into the store in the beginning of this year was in sight.

When police arrived, this time the witness identified the defendant, who was standing at the west side of the Fagatogo market. Police approached Senetala and asked if he could come with them to the station to discuss an important issue.

While speaking with police, Senetala immediately turned and ran away. A foot chase ensued with police, who were helped by some of the men at the market

After about half an hour, Senetala was apprehended and transported to the Fagatogo Central Police Station for questioning. Prior to transportation, a body search was carried out during which police discovered two rolled cigarettes wrapped together inside a white piece of paper, along with 3 small baggies containing green leafy substance inside Senetala’s pocket.

Senetala told police they were marijuana cigarettes and leaves he got from a friend, who is selling marijuana on the road in the Iliili area. He did not reveal to police his friend's name.

When asked about the alleged incident where he attempted to break into a store in the village, Senetala said he doesn’t know anything about that case. He further stated to police that all of last year until February of this year, he’s worked as a Security Guard, from 9p.m until 6a.m., and he doesn’t have time to break into family houses or stores at night.