Man charged with stealing $1,000 from an ACE shopper
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of stealing $1,000 from a man at Neil’s ACE Home Center store last week is now in custody after he was arrested and charged by the government. Steven Esau made his initial appearance in District Court this week.
Esau is charged with one count of stealing, a class C felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of 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.
Bail is set at $5,000.
On Feb.13, 2021 at approximately 9:30a.m, the manager of Neil’s ACE Home Center called the Tafuna Police Substation to report an alleged stealing case between two men at the Center. Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the caller who briefed them about what allegedly happened.
Cops were also able to speak to the hardware manager about the case, along with the victim, who was still at the Home Center when they arrived on the scene, while Esau, the defendant was not.
The manager told cops that Esau is one of their regular customers and showed them the security footage where Esau is allegedly seen stealing the money that was in the victim’s wallet. He is seen walking towards the electricity wire aisle, while on the phone, then later saw a wallet on the shelf.
Esau looked around to see if anyone was looking then took the money out of the wallet and left. A few seconds later, the victim came back to get his wallet.
According to other security footage, located at the parking lot, Esau walked out and got inside a grey taxi from the Lagoon Taxi Stand.
Cops spoke to the victim regarding the incident where he explained why he was in the center, where he had accidentally left his wallet while getting what he needed, and how much money was stolen.
He explained that he rushed back to get his wallet when he remembered it, and found it still on the shelf, but with no money inside — a $1,000 dollars.
After interviewing the center’s manager and the victim, cops went to the Lagoon Taxi Stand in Nuuuli and tried to locate the taxi driver for information about Esau. However, no one was at the taxi stand, but on a board inside the taxi stand was the list of taxi drivers and their telephone numbers.
Cops then ran a search for the vehicle registration of the vehicle license plate identified from the security tape, and found the person who owned the taxi. Police met up with the taxi driver and informed him about their investigation involving the man he picked up from Neil’s ACE Home Center. The taxi driver told cops where he dropped off his passenger, which is also the defendant’s residence.
Esau was spotted and was informed about the investigation. He was later transported to the Leone Police Substation for questioning.
During questioning, Esau admitted that he took the money. Officers conducted an inventory of Esau’s bag and found $1,000. While cops continued the inventory for the bag, they found drug paraphernalia in one of the pockets inside the bag and it was referred to the DPS Vice and Narcotics Unit for further investigation.
Four hours later, the victim was informed that the money was found and it was returned to him.