Prisoner suspected over Sunday theft

A family at Vaitele has been left reeling after a thief – suspected to be an escaped convict - entered their compound, broke into their car and left with items valued at well over $10,000.

Victim, Jerry Leleimalefaga, told the Samoa Observer that the crime was committed between 12midnight on Sunday and 5.30am the next morning.

 “The stolen items include a Dell Laptop with a black Touro hard-drive,” he said. “He also took a black Cannon Digital Camera, the bag, lenses and the charger.

“There was another bag with kids clothes inside.”

Mr. Leleimalefaga said the laptop, the hard drive and camera were of particular importance to his work.

 “I took the electronic devices home with me so I can complete a couple of projects from home during the weekend.

“It is the nature of my work that I work on publications. This type of work usually makes me work at home throughout the weekend.

“The stolen electronic items belong to my employer and it cost more than $10,000.”

The family suspects that an escaped prisoner was involved.

Their suspicions were confirmed yesterday.

A Senior Police Officer at Tafa’igata Prison confirmed that a prisoner by the name of Aniseko escaped last Thursday. He remains at large.

Taxi driver, Atoa Setu, said he saw a person he suspected to be prisoner in front of the Mini-mart store at Vaitele on Monday morning.

Atoa said he saw him carrying two bags, which match the description of the stolen camera and the laptop. He added that the man had company.

“This means that there are still people out there who are aiding these escaped prisoners and it is not a pleasant trend given the increasing number of burglary crimes.”

Later that morning, the empty bags were found in front of the Vaitele Mini-Mart. The employees of the Vaitele Mini-Mart said they saw one of the accused men in front of the store.

Mr. Leleimalefaga said the theft has left them badly shaken and angry.

 “If someone tries to sell these stolen items or any stolen item to you, please hold the items and call the police straight away.”

He also raised questions about the security of members of the public from prisoners.

 “The pressing issue is the fact that every time a prisoner runs away from the Tafaigata prison, families and communities in close range to the vicinity of the prisons are the ones who suffer the consequences,” he said.

 “We can work together as a community to ensure we live in a safe country and that we are safe within our own homes.

“It could have been a lot worse than what it was and it’s not safe for the young ones.”

It was not possible to get a comment from the Police yesterday.

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