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PPD arrest leads to suspect in two burglaries

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man with a stealing conviction told police after he was arrested last month for allegedly breaking into two homes in Tafeta that the items he stole were given out to his friends while other items were sold to get drugs from a place in Vaitogi.

When police arrested the suspect pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court, officers discovered illegal drugs in his possession.

Apineru Filimalo made his initial appearance in court last month.

Filimalo, 32, is charged in 2 separate cases.

In the first case, Fiilmalo is charged with 2 counts of 1st burglary; 2 counts of 2 stealing, both class C felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 7 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 for each count.

In the second case, Filimalo is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth) and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by imprisonment from 5-10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both; along with one count of public peace disturbance (PPD), a misdemeanor.

Bail is set at $15,000.  If he posts bond, Filimalo is ordered to remain law abiding, as well as the usual restrictions for bail.


The matter surfaced after police received a complaint from two Tafeta families regarding their homes being burglarized by unknown people while they were away from home. According to the government’s case, the first home was allegedly burglarized on the night of Dec. 23, 2020, while the second home was burglarized four days after the first incident — Dec. 27, 2020.

The victim of the first incident told police that the family was at their aunt’s home in Leone when the alleged burglary took place. Returning home the next morning, Dec. 24th, with his children, he observed from outside that the side window was damaged and a few clothes were scattered on the ground.

He then checked inside the house and discovered it had been robbed of personal belongings, which included his daughter’s laptop; 2 fine mats; 2 pairs of gold earrings; two pairs of Nike shoes, miscellaneous electric tools, clothes and a cell phone.

Several police officers responded to the scene and interviewed family members and took photos of alleged crime scene.

While police were investigating the first alleged burglary, the second family reported their burglary. A woman who contacted police stated that her sister’s house, which is next to their home, was burglarized by unknown people on the night of Dec. 27th, while they were spending the Christmas holidays at her friend’s home in Nu’uuli.

According to the woman, the people who allegedly committed the crime gained entry from the back door and went inside the house’s master bedroom. The caller told police her sister’s home was ransacked, but didn’t know what had been taken.

Officers responded to the call, and interviewed the woman who reported the matter.

A month later into the investigation of the two burglaries, a young female contacted her aunt, who is a police officer and relayed some essential information that led to the arrest of the suspect in this case.

The young female was identified as the ex-girlfriend of the suspect and she is now the key witness of the police investigations.

According to the witness, she had dated Filimalo for 6 months.

On the night of Filimalo’s birthday, which was Dec. 29th of last year, she heard that Filimalo and two of his close friends got some drugs from a man name “Vai” of Vaitogi; and she asked her boyfriend at the time how he got the drugs from Vai.

Filimalo allegedly told the witness that he and his two friends burglarized two homes in Tafuna before and after Christmas. He said they kept some of the belongings for themselves while the electronic tools were sold to another man for money which they used to buy drugs from Vai.

According to the witness’s statement to police, Filimalo then gave her a pair of gold earrings, which she returned to police and it was later confirmed by one of the victims of the first burglary that the gold earrings belonged to her.

Investigators visited the suspect’s home in an effort to speak to him regarding the matter but he was nowhere to be found.

Last month, police officers responded to a PPD call in Futiga where two men were making unreasonable noise in front of a store.

Police arrived and apprehended only one man from the scene. The man was later identified as Filimalo, the defendant in this matter.

Before the defendant was transported to the police station for questioning, he was patted down and police found a small stamped sized baggie containing a white crystalline substance inside the defendant’s right pocket, as well as a hand rolled marijuana joint.

The defendant was transported to the police station for questioning. After being Mirandized, the defendant informed police that he understood his rights and wished to make a statement to the police.

Filimalo admits that he, along with his two best friends burglarized two homes in Tafeta. Some of the stolen items were sold to a man name Vai of Vaitogi in exchange for drugs.

(Filimalo’s two friends are also mentioned in the affidavit, but until charged Samoa News has chosen to withhold their names.)