Two men arrested in connection with Tafuna store burglary
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The two men suspected to have burglarized a Tafuna store last month were arrested this week.
Sooupu Kalapu and Vincent Agafili made their initial appearances in District Court this week. Prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell, while Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart is representing both men.
Kalapu, 24, is charged with second degree burglary and stealing, both class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a $5,00 fine or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment for each count.
Agafili is charged with receiving stolen property and resisting arrest, both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Bail for Kalapu is set at $10,000 and $5,000 for Agafili
Preliminary examination is Sept. 25th at 10:30a.m.
The government claims that it was early last month when the owner of Lin Kim Mart in Tafuna contacted police for assistance, after he noticed that the back door of his store was damaged and someone was inside the store at night.
According to the owner’s statement to police, a recording from the store surveillance camera shows that around 3:43a.m on Aug. 4th, 2019, an unidentified male entered the store through the back door and made his way to the front of the store. But it was dark and it was hard for police and the store owner to make out the face of the person in the video.
Several items were stolen, including 10 cases of bowl saimin valued at over $80; two cases of Wesson oil worth $165; two boxes of onion rings valued at $92.40 and several canned food valued at over $250.
While officers were looking for a lead, a young man who lives nearby came forward with information that would help officers with their case. According to the witness, he and his friends were drinking at his home when Kalapu called to him and asked if he wanted to buy a case of Wesson oil for $50.
The witness said Kalapu told him his parents went to a funeral and returned with two cases of Wesson oil, but they really need cash to buy food and add credit to their debit meter.
Kalapu was picked up from his home and taken in for questioning. During the interview, he verbally admitted that he had broken into Lin Kim Mart and taken a number of items in the beginning of last month. He identified another man - Vincent Agafili - as the one who helped him by using his truck to transport the stolen items away from the store and to Agafili’s home for safekeeping.
Kalapu told police that most of the stolen items were taken by Agafili and kept at his home.
Agafili was approached by investigators at his workplace in Tafuna. Initially, he refused to go with police when asked to do so. When a male officer tried to cuff him, he refused and fled the scene. Not long afterwards, Agafili was apprehended and transported to the Tafuna Substation for questioning.
During the interview, he verbally stated that he used his vehicle to transport stolen items from Lin Kim Mart to his house. He allegedly admitted that he sold some of the stolen goods to several of is friends and he kept some for himself.