Alleged burglar an employee of mayor’s office


A $15,000 cash bail was imposed Friday on an employee of the Saipan Mayor’s Office’s Dog Control Program who was allegedly caught on a surveillance camera stealing items from a car at Banzai Cliff last Monday, Feb. 19.

Rodney Camacho Babauta, 35, was arrested for burglary and theft.

The Office of the Public Defender was appointed as his counsel. Preliminary hearing will be on March 1 at 1:30pm.

Police said that Babauta admitted in an interview last Wednesday that he was the person in the camera.

Police said the victim, a tour guide, stole an estimated $3,000 worth of items, including a Marc Jacob bag, a Fendi pouch, a Gucci wallet, a Samsung Galaxy Tablet A, and other items.

Police said that Babauta admitted waiting for a while and saw a van parking. He said he noticed the lights in the vehicle were still turned on and that a child was sleeping in the back seat.

Babauta said he opened the passenger door and took the bag.

Police said that last Monday, Feb. 19, at 10:10pm, the Department of Public Safety received a call about a theft from a vehicle at Banzai Cliff.

The victim is a local tour guide, who stated that her purse was stolen from her vehicle between 8pm and 8:30pm. At that time, the tour guide escorted passengers on a 20- to 30-minute tour of the cliff, while her purse and a sleeping child were left in the car.

The driver did not notice the purse was missing until she returned her group to Pacific Islands Club Saipan later that evening. She then reviewed the vehicle’s surveillance camera, confirmed the purse was stolen, and called police.

The video, circulated on social media, prompted several tips to the Crime Stoppers hotline. As a result of those tips, police brought Babauta in for questioning last Thursday morning.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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