Prosecution calls 3 witnesses in trial of teacher accused of stealing copper wire


A jury trial began yesterday in the Superior Court of George Lieto Jr., a teacher accused with another man of burglarizing a store’s generator room and stealing copper wire.

The prosecution called to the witness stand three witnesses—patrol officer David Rabauliman, the manager of New Kagman Market, and the owner of a surveillance camera.

The trial will resume today, Tuesday, at 8:30am. Associate Judge David A. Wiseman is presiding over the trial.

Assistant attorneys general Graef Clayton and Chester Hinds are prosecuting the case. Attorney Matthew Holley is court-appointed counsel for Lieto.

Lieto is on trial for one count each of burglary and theft. Lieto’s co-defendant, Terwik A. Ludwig, pleaded guilty last February and was slapped with a three-year prison term.

Police detective Catherine B. Pangelinan stated in her report that while patrol officer Rabauliman was conducting a routine patrol along Cha Cha Road in Kagman on Oct. 26, 2014 at 9:47am, he spotted Lieto and Ludwig loading copper wire into a car’s trunk next to the generator room of New Kagman Market.

As Rabauliman made a turn into New Kagman Market, he saw Lieto enter the driver’s side of a Mazda 3 car, while Terwik got into the vehicle’s rear passenger side.

As the car was exiting the parking lot, Rabauliman blocked the exit. The officer got out of his patrol car and approached Lieto.

While Rabauliman was talking with Lieto, Terwik got down and ran into a jungle south of Kagman Laundry located behind New Kagman Market.

The officer found in the car’s trunk, two large rolls and two small roll bundles of copper wire that were stolen from the generator room of New Kagman Market.

Lieto was then arrested.

According to the storeowner, the stolen copper wire were back-up wires for the generator.

Pangelinan said they recovered the rolled wires with estimated total value of $1,662.57.

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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