Daring $60,000 robbery, escapee captured with loot

Police yesterday captured prison escapee Aniseko Vailei following a tip-off from the public, after a shop at Vailoa was robbed early Thursday morning and $60,000 cash stolen. 

Samoa Police Service released a statement last night, saying a total of $10,000 cash was also recovered during the criminal’s recapture and they are now following leads to locate his partner in crime, Pati Chong Nee. 

A video of the robbery at One-and-One shop, which was taken from the shop’s CCTV, was uploaded on social media on Thursday. It immediately went viral and led to suggestions by the public, that it was another robbery by the prison escapees. 

The shop owners suffered minor injuries, when they fought off the two men who covered their faces when they held up the business.

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According to CCTV footage, a woman ran into the house and failed to close the door, when she was set upon by two unidentified men and assaulted. While she laid next to the door, a man of Asian origin was seen walking out, and ran back inside the house with the two men running after him. The second video footage showed a man of Asian origin dragged from the stairway by one of the invaders. The victim was seen fending off a machete from the second attacker and suffered from cuts to his hands.

It is not known if the cash that was stolen by the criminals is the business’ daily takings. However, the Police Commissioner cautioned shop owners to bank their proceeds. 

“We also want to urge the store owners to bank their daily earnings – it shouldn’t be stored within the home or store premises.

“The Police are doing everything they can to bring these culprits to face their crime and in the meantime, we continue to seek public assistance. If you have any information, please reach out to the police,” he added.  

Vailoa village mayor, Nu'u Fagalilo Fagaialii, told this newspaper that they have made queries with their community on the identity of the thieves. 

“So far what we know, the muggers who attacked the Chinese owners of One-and-One store are not from Vailoa,” he said, and added that unless the culprits are from Vailoa, the village council will not be able to do anything. 

Fagaialii said drivers from a nearby taxi stand ran after the two thieves but were not able to catch them.

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