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Young woman accused of stealing rental car arrested after 3 years

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young woman accused of stealing a rental car and crashing it into a rock wall near a store in Iliili almost 3 years ago is now in custody after police arrested her last week pursuant to an arrest warrant.

The young woman is Theresa Luamanu, the defendant in this case.

The government alleges that on Nov. 21st, 2017, a female rented a blue 2014 Kia Sportage from Roy Hall of the Turtle and Shark Lodge. According to the rental agreement it was to be returned on Nov. 22, 2017.

When the car was never returned, the owner then reported the case to police and the person who rented the car was questioned by police.

According to the female who rented the car, the key to the car was laying on her bedside table when she went to sleep on the night of Nov. 21, 2017. When she woke up the next morning the vehicle was not parked in the front of her house. She then asked Luamanu about the car. Luamanu replied that she had already turned the vehicle back in.

The lady who rented the car later found out that Luamanu’s reply was a lie. The rental car was never returned to the owner.

Police turned their investigation to Luamanu, the person who last drove the car. When questioned by police, Luamanu admitted that she stole the vehicle from the lady who rented the car to go see her boyfriend in Vailoa and get money from him.

She stated that on her way back after seeing her boyfriend, she crashed into a rock wall near a store in Iliili while racing with another car. She left the car and ran away.

Investigators interviewed Luamanu’s boyfriend regarding the incident, where he confirmed that on the early morning of Nov. 22, 2017, Luamanu came to him asking for money. After giving Luamanu money, she then left and returned home.

The defendant’s boyfriend told investigators that later that morning, Luamanu contacted him again, asking him to pick her up because she had a car accident and crashed the car into a rock wall in Iliili.

The value of the Kia Sportage vehicle on the day of the accident was $16,000. Mr. Hall settled with the insurance company for $15,000.

Luamanu made her initial appearance in District Court this week.

She is charged with one count of stealing, for appropriating the property of another, a rental car belonging to Roy Hall, without the owner’s consent, for the purpose of depriving the owner of the vehicle, a class C felony punishable by imprisonment for up to seven years, a $5,000 fine, or pursuant to A.S.C.A 46.2101, a fine equal to twice the amount of gain fro the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, of both such fine and imprisonment.

Bail is $5,000.

Preliminary examination (PX) is set for Thursday, July 16th.