Man who stole gun pleads guilty



A habitual offender has pleaded guilty to stealing a gun from the house of Superior Court Associate Judge Kenneth L. Govendo during a burglary.

At a change of plea last week in federal court, Cling Philip Kaipat, 21, pleaded guilty to possession of a stolen firearm. That carries a maximum penalty of not more than 10 years of imprisonment; a fine not to exceed $250,000; a term of supervised release of not more than three years; restitution; and a $100 special penalty assessment.

The U.S. government and Kaipat agreed to 46 months imprisonment, to be served concurrently with any sentence imposed in his three criminal cases in the Superior Court. He will be sentenced on Feb. 23, 2018. Colin Thompson served as his court-appointed counsel.

Kaipat’s jury trial on Nov. 14, 2017, was vacated.

In exchange for Kaipat’s guilty plea, the U.S. government dropped the possession of ammunition.

The U.S. government and Kaipat also agree to a three-year term of supervised release, to include special conditions such as no contact with Govendo or any of his family members.

Kaipat also agrees to stay away from Govendo’s residence, and shall complete drug testing and drug treatment programs.

According to the police, Kaipat stole a 9mm Smith and Wesson pistol while burglarizing Govendo’s home on Nov. 5, 2015.

Kaipat was on supervised release at the time he burglarized and stole Govendo’s gun.

He has previously pleaded guilty to assault and battery charges, robbery, burglary, theft, and criminal mischief

Govendo was off-island when the burglary happened. Police recovered the judge’s gun.

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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