Police arrest another alleged IPI copper wire thief

Police arrested in Upper Miha, Garapan a 34-year-old man, who was tagged as the third suspect in the theft of 39 feet of copper wire from the Imperial Pacific International Ltd. compound in Lower Base.

John D. Sellem was taken before the Superior Court yesterday for bail hearing on charges of theft and conspiracy.

Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho maintained the $20,000 cash bail that Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio imposed in issuing the arrest warrant for Sellem.

Preliminary hearing will be on Aug. 14 at 9am.

A private counsel will be appointed for Sellem. Assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas appeared for the government.

According to police, Mario O. Sablan and Frank T. Pangelinan were first arrested last July 2.

Sablan allegedly identified Sellem as their companion who managed to run away when they stole copper wire at the IPI compound last May 3.

Sablan allegedly told police that he met with Sellem in Garapan on May 3. The two men proceeded to U-Luck Poker in Garapan, where they met Pangelinan.

After the three smoked “ice” provided by Pangelinan, they proceeded to the IPI compound in Lower Base to steal copper wire. It was Sellem who allegedly directed them to the compound.

An IPI employee saw the three suspects stealing copper wire worth $1,018. The employee flagged down two police officers who happened to be heading to the area.

As a result, Sablan and Pangelinan were arrested at the scene. Sellem allegedly managed to run away.

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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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  • Rehmdla


  • AFriend918

    Bunch of losers

  • Daniel Durkin

    Since Kanat Tabla shooting range now refuses to sell ammo to locals and essentially is sending a message to locals that they would rather cater to tourists, I urge all gun owners to call Honorable Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres to veto SB 20-14. Kanat Tabla’s discriminatory practices must be addressed. Law-abiding, legal gun owners who wish to practice at the only shooting range on Saipan are being treated as second class citizens. Shameful! NRA NRA!!!

  • Tradesman

    He will walk

  • SaipanStorm

    The problem here is an attitude that it is a “petty crime” and it seems to happen again and again. Unfortunately while the thieves may think it is a quick way to score drugs the victims are stuck with huge bills not only replacing copper wire but repairing damages , buying new equipment to replace what has been destroyed plus the labor. It adds up to a crime that costs victims lots of money. I hope these guys are punished strongly so that they don’t repeat.

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