23 Dec 2014

Multiple offender sentenced in American Samoa

11:31 am on 23 December 2014

An American Samoan man who went on a robbery spree robbing several busineses and homes, including the home of a church minister, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Joseph Iakopo is acccused of fourteen burglaries, which occured over several weeks in early 2013.

Court documents say the robberies covered about six villages on the main island of Tutuila.

According to court documents, the defendant stole more than $3,000 from a church safe, which was at the home of a church minister, and more than $2,000 worth of merchandise from stores, two restaurants and private homes.

Samoa News reports that Iakopo faced 34 charges, ranging from first and second degree burglary, attempted burglary, stealing, first degree assault and property damage.

Iakopo appeared last Friday in court for sentencing where the defence sought leniency, but the prosecutor argued Iakopo was a career criminal who had not learned his lesson from an earlier conviction.

The court agreed and sentenced Iakopo to 16 years in prison.