Westside burglar pleads guilty to 3 counts of felony stealing
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 25-year-old man, accused of breaking into several westside businesses, has reached a plea agreement with the government. The deal was announced during a Change of Plea hearing in High Court.
Malaki Fautua has agreed to plead guilty to three felony counts of stealing. In doing so, he admits that he broke into three local businesses between December 2017 and February 2018. And during the break-ins, he admits that he stole more than $2,000 in cash, in addition to several items from each store.
Fautua admits that he stole $120 from a laundromat in Tafuna sometime during Feb. 21, 2018, which is also the same date he broke into another business — also in Tafuna — and took off with $2,000. On a separate date, he broke into a Nuuuli store and stole about $160 in cash, plus several items.
Fautua was initially charged in two separate cases. In the first one, he was charged with two counts of first degree burglary and three counts of stealing, all felonies. In the second case, he was slapped with six charges, including three counts of stealing, one count of robbery, one count of first degree burglary, and one count of assisting another person to commit stealing.
But under the plea agreement, which has since been accepted by the court, Fautua pled guilty to three counts of felony stealing. In return, the remaining charges — in both cases — are dismissed.
Fautua has two co-defendants: Naasona Viliamu and Apelu Lokeni, and their cases are pending in High Court.
According to terms of the plea agreement, Fautua and his two co-defendants masterminded a plan to attack these Asian businesses over a span of two weeks.
The government says Fautua did all the work, by breaking into each store at night and taking off with cash and goods, while his two co-defendants waited for him inside the getaway vehicle. As part of the plea agreement, Fautua and his co-defendants are to pay restitution to the affected businesses.
Stealing is a class C felony punishable by not more than 7 years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both. Fautua remains in custody and will be sentenced Oct. 4th.