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Two burglary charges reduced to stealing after plea agreement reached

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Calvin Lavea of Tafuna was initially charged in two separate cases — in the first case he is charged with second degree burglary, attempted burglary and stealing; and in the second case, with stealing and first degree burglary.

However, in a plea agreement with the government accepted by the High Court last week, Lavea pled guilty to two counts of stealing, while the remaining charges were dismissed.

Under the plea agreement, Lavea admits that on Feb. 23, 2020 he unlawfully entered a home in Tafuna at night and removed several items including a pair of shoes, clothes, two big fine mats and a tool box.

Furthermore, Lavea admits that on Mar. 03, 2020, he unlawfully entered an Asian store in Tafuna at night for the purpose of committing a crime. While he was inside the store, he stole a small box containing $1,504 cash, several items, including food, sodas, two cartons of cigarettes and an iPhone.

According to the plea agreement, the government claims that the owners of the house that was burglarized were off island during the time of the incident. The couple informed police after they returned and discovered that their home had been robbed.

A man who lived a few blocks from the couple’s home told the couple that a young man by the name of Sturkie came to his house and tried to sell him a tool box for $150. The man said he only gave Sturkie $20 because he was suspicious that the tool box was stolen.

Sturkie was later identified as Lavea, who is the defendant in this case.

When questioned by police, Lavea admitted entered into the couple’s home and stealing several items.

While police were investigating the incident regarding the couple’s home in Tafuna, the owner of an Asian store, also in the Tafuna area contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for assistance, regarding his store which was burglarized by an unknown person.

Police were able to watch the footage captured from the store surveillance camera, and easily identified the person in the footage as the defendant.

When questioned by police, Lavea also admitted that he broke into an Asian store in Tafuna at night and stole several items including cash.

Lavea, who has been in custody since his arrest last year, unable to post his $15,000 surety bond is scheduled to appear in court next month for sentencing.