Man gets one month in jail for stealing from store

Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja yesterday imposed a one-month prison term on a man who stole $310 from the drawer of a store in Puerto Rico.

Naraja sentenced Anthony Santos Lacanlale to a year in prison, all suspended except for a month, for theft.

Lacanlale, 24, was given credit for one day of time served. He was allowed to start serving his sentence on March 31, 2015, at 1pm. He is expected to be released on April 29.

After completing the prison term, Lacanlale will be placed on one year of supervised probation. He was ordered to pay a $200 fine, $25 in court assessment fee, and $100 in probation fee.

He was ordered to pay restitution to the victim’s wife, Bi Yu Zheng, in the amount of $310.

During his probation, Lacanlale is to stay away from the victim, Zhi Guang Li, and Vegetable Plus.

He was also ordered to perform 300 hours of community service.

The Office of the Attorney General had charged Lacanlale with theft. He pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal.

He was represented by assistant public defender Michael Sato. Assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas appeared for the government.

According to the factual basis of the plea deal, on Nov. 25, 2014, on Saipan, Lacanlale stole money from Vegetable Plus, which is owned by Zhi Guang Li.

Zhi Guang Li is the younger brother of New Fresh Market owner Zhi Yuan Li, who mysteriously disappeared last Jan. 17.

Police detective Catherine Pangelinan stated in her report that Zhi Guang Li called police on Dec. 8, 2014, and complained that Lacanlale, who lives near his store, keeps passing by the establishment even after stealing money from them.

Pangelinan said Zhi Guang Li and his wife were scared that Lacanlale would return and hurt them.

One customer allegedly told the victims that Lacanlale was laughing and boasting that he would not be arrested because he is indigenous and his victims are Chinese.

Police reviewed the surveillance camera in the store and found out that Lacanlale forced open the drawer and took several bills.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com
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