$20K bail for robbery’s alleged getaway driver

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The Superior Court imposed a $20,000 cash bail yesterday on a man who was allegedly the getaway driver of a robbery in Garapan.

Wilson Kenneth Caintoy Celeste, 24, was arrested last Friday and is facing charges of robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and receiving stolen property.

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho initially set Celeste’s bail at $100,000 but his lawyer, Samuel Mok, argued yesterday that his bail should be reduced to $10,000 since, based on the allegations, he was just driving the getaway vehicle and may not have been directly involved in the robbery. Mok added that Celeste has strong ties to the community so he is not a flight risk.

Chief prosecutor Heather Barincas of the Office of the Attorney General did not oppose reducing the bail amount but asked the court that, if bail is reduced, let it be reduced to $20,000.

Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo reduced Celeste’s bail to $20,000 and ordered him to return to court on July 29 at 2:30pm for a preliminary hearing.

Celeste is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 5 at 9am.

Celeste is prohibited from speaking to his co-defendant, Carl Aldan, prohibited from having any contact with the victim and her daughter, and is prohibited from going near seaports and airports.

Wilson Kenneth Caintoy Celeste

The court also ordered Celeste to turn in his passport and travel documents and prohibited him from applying for any travel documents.

According to court information, Department of Public Safety officers responded to a report of a robbery on July 14 at around 7:22pm along Plumeria Avenue in Garapan. The victim was a tourist and her young daughter who reported that she was robbed by a man who ran out from a red Nissan Sentra and grabbed her purse while she and her daughter were walking.

On July 18, police found the red Nissan Sentra at Celeste’s residence in Gualo Rai and brought him in for questioning.

Celeste allegedly confessed that he drove the vehicle that was used in the robbery but Aldan was the one who stole the tourist’s purse and instructed him to speed off.

Celeste said that he needed money so he sent Aldan a message through Facebook to borrow some from him.

Aldan, in turn, told Celeste he knew of a way to make a lot of money quick and all he needed to do was drive him.

Celeste said there was over $1,000 in the stolen purse, a Hermes watch, passports, and credit cards.

Celeste told police that Aldan gave him $400 from the stolen cash and Aldan took the rest and left in a taxi.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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