Teenager arrested anew for cell phone scheme

»Mother also arrested for obstruction of justice


Kainoa Shayne Wanket, a teenager who was arrested last March 16 for allegedly stealing money from a woman by deceiving her, through Facebook messages, to buy his iPhone 6 cell phone, was arrested again on Monday by victimizing another woman using the same scheme.

Wanket, 18, was taken to Superior Court yesterday for his initial court appearance on charges of theft and contempt.

Saipan Tribune learned from sources that Wanket’s mother was also arrested for obstruction of justice after a police detective found them together with a former Department of Corrections officer at a house in Illiyan on Monday night.

The detective had already informed the mother last week about Wanket’s arrest warrant and advised her not to hide him. The mother was set to be released Tuesday night as police conducted further investigation, sources said.

Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio imposed a $5,000 cash bail on Wanket and set the preliminary hearing for May 10 at 1:30pm.

Assistant public defender Tillman Clark was appointed as counsel for Wanket. Assistant attorney general Heather Barcinas appeared for the government.

Kim-Tenorio quashed the $5,000 bench warrant that she issued against the defendant last April 26 for failing to appear at a status conference in his previous case.

Police Detective Catherine B. Pangelinan stated in her report that last April 25 a police officer responded to Twins Market in Dandan and investigated a theft complaint filed by a firefighter’s wife against Wanket.

Pangelinan said the victim told the officer that earlier she was chatting with Wanket on Facebook because the latter was selling his iPhone 6s for $350.

The victim met with Wanket at Twins Market and handed the $350. Wanket never came back with the iPhone.

The victim provided the officer with Wanket’s photo that she took on her cell phone. The officer also procured the surveillance footage of Wanket in the store and in the parking lot.

Pangelinan said that later on the same day of April 25, during an interview the victim showed Wanket’s photograph that she took using her cell phone at Twins Market.

The victim stated that she was earlier looking through Saipan Buy and Sell page, where she saw Wanket was selling an iPhone 6s for $350. The victim was interested so she texted Wanket to buy the phone.

At the parking lot of Twins Market, Wanket asked for the money so he could get the car key from his uncle and take the phone from the vehicle.

The victim refused to give the money until she sees the phone. She eventually gave $350 after he assured her to trust him.

Wanket went inside the store and later came out, walking in the east direction. He never came back with the phone.

Last March 16, police arrested Wanket for stealing money from a woman using the same cell phone scheme. He was released upon posting $500.

In that previous case, Pangelinan stated in her report that a police officer responded to Han Nam Market in Koblerville to investigate a woman’s complaint that Wanket stole her $180.

Pangelinan said earlier that morning, the victim was on Facebook and noticed that Wanket was selling an iPhone 6 cell phone for $200.

The victim communicated with Wanket to purchase the phone. She insisted to bring first the phone to Docomo to check if it was a stolen item. Wanket claimed through Facebook messages that there’s nothing to worry about the phone.

The victim and her boyfriend met Wanket at Han Nam parking lot.

Wanket offered his driver’s license to ensure that he would give the phone. He asked that the victim’s boyfriend to follow him to the back of the store where his uncle’s house is and where the phone is.

The victim gave $180 cash to Wanket and her boyfriend held on to his driver’s license.

Wanket walked around the apartment, but never came back with the phone and money.

The victim tried to get in touch with Wanket over Facebook and phone, but he blocked her.

The victim released the information on Facebook about what Wanket did to her. The victim’s friend informed her that Wanket also stole her iPhone 6 worth $1,700 and probably it was her phone that he was selling her.

Police then arrested Wanket in As Lito last March 16, but he later posted bail.

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 ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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