Young burglar — who is a repeat offender, charged and in custody
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 25-year-old man who was picked up pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court, on the allegation that he unlawfully entered a store in the Tafuna area and stole several items including electronics’ accessories; two speakers; a laptop and several power tools is now facing drug charges.
The government filed two separate cases against Fono Amoa when he made his initial appearance in court last month.
In the first case, the defendant is charged with stealing and second degree burglary, 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.
In the second case, he is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of methamphetamine, both felonies.
Bond is set at $25,000.
The defense’s attorney asked to reduce his client’s bail to $10,000 surety for both cases; but prosecutor Robert Morrison III pointed out that the defendant is not new to the court system, and his actions in these two cases show the type of person he is and asked that bail be maintained in both cases and the court agreed.
On Nov. 29, 2020, an Asian businessman reported to police that his store in the Tafuna area was burglarized by an unknown person and a lot of personal belongings stolen. He told police that the perpetrator was unable to enter the portion of the store where food and other items are stored, but only managed to gain entry into the back room where his personal belongings were stored.
A copy of the surveillance footage was provided to investigators, which shows a man entering the back portion of the store by damaging the wood door to gain entry.
A female employee was able to identify the person on the surveillance footage as Fono Amoa, the defendant.
Amoa was picked up from his uncle’s home in Kokoland, three months after the alleged incident and taken in for questioning. He allegedly admitted to investigators that he broke into the store and took a number of things on the night of Nov. 29, 2020, while his friend was standing outside of the store as a lookout.
He went on to say that some of the items he stole were sold to his friend from Iliili in exchange for drugs, while others were sold to another man from Vaitogi for money to buy him and his friends food and beer.
Before the defendant was interviewed, a body search was conducted and during the pat down, two clear ziplock baggies containing a white crystalline substance which later tested positive for methamphetamine (meth), fell from the right side of the defendant’s shorts.
Police also found two hand rolled joints, which later tested positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active compound in the controlled substance marijuana, inside his pants pocket.
The defendant signed the arrest warrant for the burglary case; however, he refused to make a statement regarding the marijuana joints and the two baggies of meth. When asked about the drugs, the defendant refused to talk, but told police to go ahead with whatever they found on him. He told police he didn’t want to offer any more information regarding the incident.