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Accused burglar found with drugs charged after ‘best friend’ turns him in

American Samoa District Court building
He gave her a laptop and a watch for her birthday — both allegedly stolen

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of burglarizing a home in Iliili five months ago has been arrested and is now in custody, with bail set at $25,000. When police officers arrested Felise Mano at his friend’s home in Fagaima, illegal drugs were found in his possession.

On May 11th, 2020 around 7:32 a.m, a woman called police to report that her Iliili home had been burglarized. When cops arrived, they observed that several bedrooms had been ransacked and the back door was damaged. Cops also discovered some to the items lying on the ground about 50 yards away from the house.

The caller told police that on the afternoon of May 10th, she instructed her daughter to secure the house and make sure all doors were locked after she cleaned up the yard with two of her male employees. The woman said her daughter and the two employees went to the house and everything was squared away, and they turned the lights on and locked all doors before they left.

The next morning, May 11th, the woman and her son returned to the house and noticed clothes and other items that had been inside the house lying on the side of the road, while other items were seen lying on the ground not far from the house.

The woman further noticed that the lights were off, the front screen door was locked from the inside and the back door was damaged. Inspecting the property more, the woman noticed that some of her belongings were on the ground in the back yard. The house had been ransacked.

Several police officers arrived at the scene and secured the area looking for any evidence that could possibly lead them to their suspect[s].

Four weeks after the incident was reported, police spoke to an eyewitness who gave them a huge lead in the case.

She said that on May 10th, at a little past midnight, she was hanging out with her boyfriend in front of their house when she observed two male individuals walking around the house [that was burglized] with their flashlight. She said she stood up and went over to the house and asked the men what they were looking for and one of them said they were looking for the person that broke into their house a few moments ago.

According to the witness, the two male individuals walked around the house and the yard before they disappeared into the brush. She identified one of the men she saw that night as “Fritz” and that he was wearing a blue T-shirt and black pants.

‘Fritz’ was later identified as Felise Mano, the defendant in this case. According to the government, the defendant is a 30-year-old man from Petesa.

Investigators spoke to a second witness, who stated that on the night of the alleged incident, he saw Mano’s truck parked in a dark area close to the house that was ransacked.

The witness told police that he asked Mano why his truck was parked on that side of the road, and Mano told him he was waiting for a friend. According to the second witness, Mano was wearing black pants and a blue shirt.

On July 20th, two months after the incident, a 28-year-old female contacted police and said she had some information related to the incident where a house was burglarized in Iliili two months ago.

According to her, a man who told her that he involved in the burglary is a long time friend and he gave her a laptop and a woman’s watch. The items were later turned over to police by the witness, and police later returned the items to the victim.

The witness told police that on July 15th, her birthday, Mano called her and wished her a happy birthday. Mano then told her that he has something for her birthday and he wanted her to come over to his house so that they can make love and give her the present.

The witness did not go to Mano’s house that day, however on the following morning, July 16th around 7p.m, Mano showed up at the witness’s house and gave her a laptop and a watch.

Four days later, on July 20th, the witness contacted Mano and asked him where he got the laptop and the watch, and Mano told the witness everything about the burglary and that he (Mano) and another good friend were responsible for the burglary.

After speaking with Mano, the witness then contacted police and told them all the information Mano had told her.

Police tried to locate Mano but he was nowhere to be found.

Last month, investigators spoke to the witness and asked her to set up a meeting with Mano. The witness was not to let Mano know that police would show up.

Mano agreed to meet with her and several cops turned up and apprehended him. Mano was cuffed and placed in the police unit, but he attempted to flee by jumping through the open driver’s side window.

When questioned, Mano told police that he and another male entered the home through the back door. He said he took some items and carried other stuff outside and left it on the ground at the back of the house.

When asked if the female witness accompanied him during the burglary, Mano said no. He said the witness was his best friend, and he gave her a laptop and a watch for her birthday two months after the burglary.

Before Mano was interviewed, a body search was carried out, where police found two small baggies containing a white crystalline substance which tested positive for meth. When asked about the two baggies, Mano said it was a gift from one of his friends in Iliili after he gave him several power tools he had stolen from the Iliili home.

According to the victim, a male came by and returned several stolen items to her, saying the items were bought from Mano on an unknown day and time. The man told police that on June 20th of this year, he received two new pairs of shoes, clothes and an electric drill from Mano.

According to the government, an arrest warrant for the second defendant in this case is in process.

Felise Mano made his initial appearance in District Court last month.

The government charged Mano in two separate cases. In the first case, he is charged with two counts of second degree burglary and two counts of stealing, both class C felonies, punishable by up to 7 years in jail, a $5,000 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 $20K, or both such fine and imprisonment.

In the second case, Mano is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony, punishably by imprisonment from 5 to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.

Bail is set at $15,000.