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Suspect charged with interfering with police at crime scene

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man suspected of burglarizing the home of an Asian couple in Tafuna has been charged with interfering with a police investigation.

Eletise Atonio is facing two misdemeanor charges: public peace disturbance and interfering with a police investigation. He made his initial appearance in District Court this week, where Judge Elvis P. Patea set bail at $300.

If he posts bond, Atonio is ordered to stay away from the couple's home, and he is not to have any direct or indirect contact with the plaintiffs or any of the government's witnesses.

According to police, at around 11:53 p.m on Feb. 21st, a man contacted police about a burglary. A Fijian couple rents the home in question.

When police arrived at the scene, they spoke to the man who reported the matter and in the middle of the conversation, a male, later identified as the defendant, entered the home uninvited and yelled at the man saying, he didn't break into the house.

Atonio, in the presence of police, then tried to pick a fight with the man, asking him, "What do you want?"

Atonio further told the man that it was his two nephews who lived across the street that allegedly broke into the house when the Fijian couple was at work and stole several items from inside the house.

Even after police officers ordered him to get out of the house and leave the property, Atonio continued to threaten the man, clenching his fists and telling him, "You'll see what I'm going to do to you!"

Police officers arrested the defendant for interfering with their investigation.

According to the police affidavit, before Atonio was escorted out of the house, the Asian couple identified him as one of the people present when the Asian man was robbed two weeks before, while he was in possession of a bag containing $1,510 cash, three personal phones, and multiple identification cards.

Atonio is scheduled to appear in court Apr. 15th for a pretrial conference.