Brothers arrested for Fogagogo burglary — a third suspect still at large
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The two brothers accused of stealing and burglary are now behind bars after being arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant from the Court.
The two brothers, Nathan Peato, 31, and his younger brother, Peato Jr, 27, made their initial appearances in District Court.
The two defendants are each charged with one count of stealing and one count of burglary, both class C felonies, 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 from the commission of said crime, up to a maximum of $20,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Peato Jr is facing an additional charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, an unclassified felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than five nor more than ten, a fine of up to $20,000.
Bail for each defendant is set at $20,000.
Both men have waived their rights for a PX and their cases are bound over to High Court. Their pretrial conference is Mar. 22, 2022.
The government alleges that on Dec. 11, 2021 around 6:12 p.m a man from Fogagogo contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for assistance regarding an apartment he owns in Fogagogo that had been ransacked and burglarized by some unknown individuals.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the man, who had requested police assistance.
The police investigation discloses that at an unknown date and time, the owner of the apartment, on behalf of the tenant, owner of the items, said the apartment was allegedly broken into by unknown individuals, who allegedly stole several items, which included a 40-inch black Samsung Smart television; Cannon Rebel T-6 camera set; 2 pair of Nike running shoes; Sketchers running shoes, 2 chainsaws, 2 electric saws, a laptop, 2 cell phones, clothes, jewelry and several other essential items
In an interview with police, according to the victim, he arrived at his residence on Dec. 11, 2021 around 5:45 p.m and found that his place had been burglarized. He told police that the last time he was at his home was on Dec. 7th, 2021, which was four days prior and he had spent the weekend with a family in Pago Pago.
The victim stated to police that he has no idea who came into his apartment and stole his belongings.
Police then turned to neighbors to gather more information, including taking a woman and her son to the TPS for questioning. The son was interviewed in the presence of his mother.
The son told police that on Dec. 8, he was dropped off at his home by his father’s friend because he was caught walking on the road during curfew hours. It was at 5 a.m while inside the house watching TV, he heard a car pull up in front of his house.
He identified the truck as Peato Jr’s truck, and Nathan jumped out from the truck and had in his hands what appeared to be a chainsaw. The witness said Nathan told him to hide the chainsaw, before Nathan left and walked towards his home.
Nathan was later identified as one of the co-defendants in this matter who lives about 2 blocks from the witness’s house, and about 40 yards from the victim’s house.
He also stated that on the same day he took the chainsaw to his uncle’s house around 7 a.m and told his uncle to keep the chainsaw.
The young witness further told police that it was Peato Jr who dropped off Nathan at his house in Peato Jr’s vehicle.
Police officers tried to locate Nathan and Peato Jr on the same day — both were not home at the time.
The next day, investigators were able to locate Peato Jr at his house and they transported him to the police substation for questioning. Peato Jr’s full name is Peato Jr. Peato.
He said on Dec. 7, he received a call from his older brother Nathan asking for a ride to Tafeta to drop off a “chainsaw” at his girlfriend’s house and he would pay for the gas.
Peato Jr stated that he went with Nathan and two male cousins to drop off the chainsaw in Tafeta, where a transaction transpired — a man took the chainsaw and gave Nathan $200. Nathan then gave him $50 for gas. Later on that day, Nathan came by his house and gave him some items including clothes, 2 new pair of sports shoes and a cell phone.
On Dec. 13, Peato Jr returned a power washer to the TPS saying that his brother Nathan also gave it to him to keep it. This particular power washer was taken during a burglary in Vaitogi allegedly involving Nathan and his friend. The power washer was later returned to the owner.
(Nathan and his friend, Tele’a Lomiga were charged in this separate case).
On Dec. 17, a man from Petesa contacted the TPS informing them about some information he knew about a burglary in Fogagogo
The man further told police that he had some stuff that Nathan sold him and he wanted police to visit his home in Petesa so that he could give them the stuff because he believes the items were stolen.
Police arrived at the man’s house and retrieved the items, which seem to match certain items allegedly stolen from the apartment in Fogagogo — one pair of Nike shoes (blue color); one electric saw; a cell phone and several items including clothes.
The next day, Dec. 18, Nathan was picked up by investigators in front of his home in Vaitogi and was arrested pursuant a separate warrant from the High Court. He was transported to the TPS for questioning.
When asked about the burglary case, Nathan shook his head, and later chose to not make any statement to police after he was Mirandized.
Nathan was booked and detained at the TCF, while police continued the investigation.
On the morning of Dec. 19, investigators went to Nathan’s home and met up with his grandmother, who gave police consent to search their house after she was informed about the reason for the police presence.
Nathan’s grandmother showed investigators Nathan’s room and investigators found and confiscated a 40-inch Samsung flat screen TV; one Apple iPad; a laptop; one external drive; one digital slave flash and a black suitcase, one new Nike pair of running shoes.
All these items were later confirmed to belong to the victim-tenant of the apartment in Fogagogo.
Two days later, another male individual was brought into the TPS for questioning. He’s one of the government witnesses in this case.
He told investigators that Nathan with his brother Peato Jr and another male individual on the night of the alleged incident broke into the victim’s house in Fogagogo and stole several items. The witness told investigators that he was hanging outside of his girlfriend’s house next to the victim’s house in Fogagogo when the alleged crime took place.
He told investigators that Peato Jr, was sitting inside his vehicle as a lookout person while Nathan and his friend went inside the house.
Peato Jr’s vehicle was pulled over by officers on the Iliili public highway during a traffic stop and transported to the TPS for questioning. He was patted down for weapons and drugs.
During a body search, officers discovered a glass pipe containing a white crystalline substance in Peato Jr’s pocket.
Peato Jr was Mirandized and waived right to remain silent. He agreed to speak with investigators regarding the matter on hand.
When questioned about the alleged burglary, Peato Jr admits he assisted his brother Nathan with the burglary. Furthermore, he also admits that he transported his brother to a house in Tafeta to sell some of the stolen items including a chainsaw and clothes.
When questioned about the glass pipe discovered in his pocket, Peato Jr said he bought the glass pipe from a friend in Futiga on the day he was arrested by police on the road.
Investigators are still looking for the third suspect in this case.