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Three men charged for stealing a lawn tractor caught on video


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On March 29, 2024, Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a woman reporting that her lawn tractor had been stolen from her home.

According to each affidavit, on March 29, at 10:20 a.m, a woman called the TPS to report that someone had stolen her lawn tractor from her home in Nu’uuli.

Police officers responded to the call and upon arrival were briefed by the reporter who was also the victim about what happened.

Officers canvassed the scene and found an all black shoe, size 10 near the garage where the lawn tractor was once located.

The evidence was collected by the officers since the victim stated that the shoe did not belong to her. The victim also claimed that it was found at the back window of her storage room where the tractor is usually stored. The victim also provided video footage to the officers.

Upon reviewing the footage, officers observed an unknown individual wearing all black and white sandals pushing the tractor away from the victim’s house. The victim stated that the lawn tractor cost $3,000.

Later on the same day about 12:45 p.m, TPS received another phone call from the victim. The victim stated that the Uso Store across the road from her home caught two individuals and a vehicle towing her stolen lawn tractor on the store’s security footage. Police officers responded and reviewed the footage.

The footage from the store’s security camera showed a vehicle approaching the side of the store and an individual walking behind it while the other was driving the stolen lawn tractor that was being towed by the vehicle.

An officer was able to identify the individual driving the tractor to be Lorenzo Sualoa who resides in the same area from where the tractor was stolen. After identifying the person in the video, one of the officers asked bystanders who were shopping at the store if they knew where Sualoa lived and was told where he was living.

Police officers then proceeded to the residence to locate Lorenzo, and met up with some of the members of the family where Sualoa was said to be living.

It while they were explaining the reason they were there at the home that one of the officers saw Sualoa standing near the residence’s garage. The officer also observed the vehicle that was allegedly used to tow the tractor.

The officer then instructed Sualoa to come toward them so they could speak with him. Sualoa (suspect #1) was then quickly apprehended at the scene.

One of the male family members of the resident questioned the officers about why his worker (suspect #1) was being arrested and was told that Sualoa was caught on camera stealing a lawn tractor and that the vehicle in the video matched the vehicle that was currently parked outside the garage.

The male family member then asked if he could talk to Sualoa since he knew Sualoa would not do such a stupid thing.

The male family member asked Sualoa if it was true what he was hearing, and Sualoa replied that it was true and that he hid the lawn tractor in the family’s garage and he also used his car to tow the tractor.

The lawn tractor was seized and the vehicle was impounded.

As the officers reached for suspect #1, the suspect reached for his pocket to grab something, and physical force was used to restrain him.

When one of the officers grabbed his hand and told the suspect to open his hand, the suspect spontaneously uttered that “it was weed”.

A thorough search was done of the suspect where officers seized a clear pipe containing crystalline substance along with a clear plastic bag with green leaves in it.

Upon arrival at the station, Vice and Narcotics were contacted. Suspect #1 was Mirandized in which he waived his rights and agreed to make a statement.

According to Lorenzo, he was driving back home when Hurry Magalasin (suspect #2) waved him down in front of the Uso Store in Nu’uuli.

He spoke with Hurry who told him that he needed help with towing his lawn tractor since he has no car to move it.

Sualoa further stated that when they arrived at his house, he saw his cousin Ieti Soosemea (suspect #3) near the stolen tractor.

Sualoa said he agreed to use the vehicle to tow the lawn tractor. He also informed the officers that Magalasin and Soosemea did not know how to drive the lawn tractor so he told his cousin Soosemea to drive the vehicle while Magalasin walked beside him.

Sualoa further told both men that since the lawn tractor was stolen, the best place to hide the lawn tractor was at the garage (where it was found) since no one would know.

Moreover, he explained that they all went to the house (where he was said to be living) and hid the lawn tractor there and everyone went their separate ways after.

Sualoa also stated that all three of them work at the same workshop.

The lawn tractor was later released to its owner, at the TPS.

After police officers received Sualoa’s statement, they proceeded to try and find the other two men but were unsuccessful.

The officers then patrolled the Lions Park area and asked bystanders if they knew any persons by the name of Hurry and Ieti. A man was able to identify Hurry and said where he lives. As officers headed to the said residence, they saw a group of people waving them down. As officers got near the crowd, they observed people holding on to an individual who was later identified as Hurry.

Officers handcuffed Hurry and were told by another bystander (later identified as Sualoa’s neighbor) that Hurry was involved with the stealing of the lawn tractor.

The bystander told the officers that Hurry hid the stolen lawn tractor at his home which made him mad because police were at his aunt’s house asking about the whereabouts of Hurry and Ieti. Hurry was apprehended and taken to the TPS to be processed.

Upon arrival at the TPS, officers escorted Hurry inside and asked Sualoa to confirm if that was Hurry and Sualoa replied “yes”. He explained that Hurry was the one walking besides him in the security footage.

On the same day, at about 6:30 p.m, officers Mirandized Magalasin and he waived his rights, agreeing to make a statement and to answer questions.

According to Magalasin, he was at his place of work — the workshop that’s located at the home where the garage is — and went to sleep at around 10 p.m and woke up at 7 a.m. He further stated he never left the house where the workshop is, since he sleeps there.

Moreover, Magalasin explained that he does not know anything.

Both men were booked at the TPS and later confined at the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF) for 48 hours until arrest warrants were processed.

The clear glass pipe containing white burnt residue and green straw containing crystalline substance along with green leaves — all confiscated from Sualoa — were turned over to the Vice and Narcotic Division.

On March 30, at 11:34 a.m, officers proceeded to the Uso Store to do a follow up investigation.

As the officers reviewed the video footage, one of the officers was able to interview one of the neighbors (later identified to be related to Sualoa and Sooasemea).

According to the neighbor (witness), the clothes worn by Sooasemea as shown on the video footage, were the same ones that he saw him wear that night while walking across the road going to the victim’s house. The witness stated that he saw Sooasemea and Magalasin talking before he left and went back home.

The witness explained that Sooasemea wore a black hat with white symbols on it, black jacket, black Nike shoes, and a black Khaki shorts that night.

On the same day at about 12:45 p.m, officers were patrolling in Nu’uuli when they identified Sooasemea walking towards a fast food restaurant.

Officers spoke with Sooasemea and told him that he was a person of interest in a case they were investigating, and asked if he could go with them to the TPS to answer some questions, and Sooasemea agreed.

At the TPS, So’osemea was Mirandized after which he waived his rights and was agreed to make a statement and answer questions.

According to Sooasemea, he was the one who planned the whole operation. He explained that “he and Hurry were the only ones who knew about the lawn tractor.” He further gave a description of the clothes, shoes and cap he wore that night.

 He also stated that “he and Hurry devised a plan where he was going to steal the lawn tractor and Hurry would be the lookout.”

Sooasemea then explained in detail how he stole the tractor, including that he already knew about the cameras at the victim’s house since he used to clean the victim’s yard. Magalasin was on lookout, according to Sooasemea.

He further stated that he pushed the tractor to Salanoa’s old house and hid it there since no one lives there anymore. 

Sooasemea said afterwards, he went back to look for his cousin Sualoa and told him about the lawn tractor that he stole from the victim’s home. At that time, the cousins went back to Sualoa’s old home to get the lawn tractor which they took to the garage to hide, and wait “for the perfect time” to find a person to which to sell it.

The affidavit states that Sooasemea was wearing a black hat with white symbols that

The defendants are identified as follow:

Lorenzo Sualoa is 33 years old and Ieti So’osemea is 44 years old — and they are U.S. Nationals; while Hurry Magalasin is a 33-year-old citizen of Vietnam.

Hurry Magalasin, Lorenzo Sualoa, and Enzenauer “Ieti” So’osemea were charged with the following:

Count 1: Felony Stealing — a class C felony punishable by imprisonment of not more than seven (7) years, a fine of not more than five (5) years, or both; and,

Count 2: Tampering in the Second Degree  — a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than one (1) year, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

Additional charges for Enzenauer “Ieti” So’osemea were:

Count 3: Burglary in the First Degree — a class B felony punishable by imprisonment of not less than five (5) years, and not more than fifteen (15) years; and,

Count 4: Trespass — a class B misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than $500, or both.

Bail for So’osemea is set for $10,000; while bail for Magalasin and Sualoa is set for $8,000 each.