Woman turns in stepson for allegedly stealing her pick up
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man with two prior convictions over a decade ago is back in court on a new allegation that he stole his stepmother’s vehicle. When pulled over by traffic officers two months ago, the suspect, Victor Isaako told officers the vehicle belonged to his sister, not his (step)mother.
Isaako was taken into custody on Mar. 10, after officers pulled the vehicle over that he was driving. It was reported to police by his stepmother as stolen. The defendant made his initial appearance in court on Mar. 14.
He is charged with one count of stealing, a class C felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 years, a $5,000 fine or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal the twice the amount of gain from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Bail was set at $5,000.
The government claims that on the morning of Mar. 10th, a woman from Tafeta contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for assistance to locate her vehicle, a gray pick-up, which he said was stolen by her stepson, Victor Isaako, the defendant in this case.
The pick-up was stopped a hour later, with two people in the vehicle, the driver, Isaako, and a female passenger.
When told the vehicle he’s driving was stolen, the defendant told police that the pick-up belongs to sister, not his stepmother.
Officers told the defendant that the vehicle was being impounded and he needed to come with them to the TPS for further discussion. Isaako’s stepmother also went to the TPS, and provided officers with a document confirming that the pick-up is registered in her name, “Agnes Alama”, the victim in this case.
However, the defendant continued to claim that the vehicle belonged to his sister, not his stepmother. The defendant told police that it was his father who forcibly changed the ownership of the vehicle to his stepmother’s name without informing his sister about the changes.
After further discussion, the defendant was taken into custody and charged with stealing.
PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION (PX)
During Isaako’s preliminary examination (PX), defense attorney, Ryan Anderson wanted to know whether the vehicle really belonged to his client’s stepmother. The government witness told the court that the vehicle is registered under the stepmother’s name.
When Anderson asked if there’s any period of time the stepmother gave Isaako permission to drive the vehicle prior to the day of the alleged incident, the witness replied, “I don’t know.”
The court advised the defendant and his attorney that if they feel that there are other documents that can support their argument that the vehicle does not belong to the defendant’s stepmother, they have to provide those documents before a jury. However, the purpose of the PX is to find probable cause if a crime has been committed and if the suspect is the person of interest in committing the crime.
The court found probable cause for the defendant’s matter to be bound over to the High Court for further proceedings.
Isaako appeared in High Court last week for arraignment. His pretrial conference is now set for May 27.