Theft sours family's Robert Louis grave trail experience
What was meant to be a memorable hike up one of the most popular attractions in Samoa, Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave trail, has instead left a family from Siusega bitterly disappointed.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tikeri Taulagi and seven other family members – including his daughter who has never been up the trail – were shocked when they returned to find their dyna truck at the car park broken into.
“They broke the window at the driver’s side and took my wife’s handbag that had all our cards inside for our business, cash worth around $1,000, and Apple ear-pods,” he said.
Mr. Taulagi's visiting relatives were also struck by the crime.
“My brother-in-law travelling to Samoa from New Zealand was one of the victims,” he said.
“In addition to stealing my wife’s bag, they also took his Kathmandu bag which had his wallet and cash worth $700 plus his drivers license and cards.”
Mr. Taulagi said his brother in law was fortunate because he left his passport at the house otherwise he could have been stuck in Samoa.
“We called the Police when we discovered what had happened,” he said.
“We filed a proper complaint. We were happy the police responded immediately to our case.”
Mr. Taulagi said the break in came as a shock to them.
“We were shocked because we did not expect something like this to happen in Samoa,” he said.
“I posted on Facebook that we don’t care about the money but we want some of the valuable items inside that we need.”
According to the 43-year-old, before they left the car park, they locked the car and made sure to hide anything that could attract the attention of a thief.
“Despite our efforts to cover all our belongings under the passenger’s seat, I think they saw my brother-in-law’s bag that was on the driver’s seat which must have led to them taking it.”
He also lamented that his daughter’s first experience of the trail turned out as it did.
“My daughter has never been up to Robert Louis Steven’s grave,” he said.
“We wanted to do it as she is leaving this Saturday. It was the first time after four years since we went up Mt. Vaea for a hike.”
Mr. Taulagi said what happened to them should be a warning for the authorities, especially since more and more people are using the trail as a form of exercise.
“There should be a security guard or cameras there,” he said.
“It is an area that so many people use daily and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) should look into that.
“It is not safe anymore and that is not a good image for our tourism but also for our country.”
Attempts to get comments from the M.N.R.E. were unsuccessful.