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Itele Leupena facing felony charges of burglary and stealing

The pretrial conference for Itele Leupena has been scheduled for February 24, 2016, and this is in connection with a burglary case in Vaitogi last month. The defendant, who is held on bail of $10,000, is facing charges of burglary first degree and stealing, which are both felonies.

According to the government’s case on the morning of December 17, 2016 the Police received a call for assistance regarding a break in. The complaining witness informed the police that the owner of the house is off island and he was the one overseeing the property. The owners of the residence arrived the same day and the residence was opened for police investigation.

It was then revealed that the alleged burglar broke the glass window of the house to gain access to the office. Court filings say the accused cut himself with the broken glass when he was trying to enter and he bled on the window frame in the room. He also walked on the bed leaving footprints on the bedsheet, while his blood dripped on the sheet.

Later that day the police officers then contacted the Criminal Investigation Division for assistance and the case was handed over to the CID for further investigation.

The owner of the house informed the police that a total of $5,000 was taken from his office, which was in five, ten and twenty dollar bills. CID Detective, Savelio Vaofanua interviewed several witnesses who stated that on the night in question the defendant was playing pool and he asked one of the witnesses to borrow money. However, not long after the defendant returned with dollar bills that were clipped together. Witnesses informed the police that the defendant played pool and was throwing bets of $20 and $30 the night in question. Another witness informed the police that on the night in question the defendant was seen with an injured thumb and it appeared he was hiding the wound.

The owner of the house informed the police that the defendant was familiar with their property including the office location where the money is kept.

According to the government’s case, the defendant admitted that the bloody green lavalava that was found near the scene belonged to him.

According to the arrest warrant, the first degree burglary charge is a class B felony and is punishable between five to 15 years in jail, while the stealing count is a class D felony and is punishable up to five years imprisonment and or a fine of up to $5,000.

The defendant was arraigned in the High Court last week, where he pleaded not guilty to the two charges. He’s represented by the Public Defender’s office while prosecuting is Robert Pickett. The defendant is scheduled to reappear in the High Court for his pretrial conference.