Banzai Cliff thief arrested

THE man who broke into a tourist van parked on Banzai Cliff, Monday, and stole valuable items including cash, has been arrested by the police.

The Department of Public Safety, in a statement, announced the arrest of 35-year-old Rodney Babauta at 9:56 a.m., Thursday. DPS said it acted on tips reported to the Crime Stoppers hotline.

Babauta matched the description of the man caught by a dashboard camera entering the front passenger door of a tourist van. The video of the incident was posted on Facebook by a member of the community. It showed a girl sleeping in the back seat while the suspect stole items from the vehicle.

DPS said the incident took place between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., Monday, while the van was parked near the viewing deck on Banzai Cliff. The victim is a local tour guide, DPS added.

At the time of the incident, she was escorting passengers on a 20- to 30-minute tour of the area. She did not notice that her backpack, which she left in the vehicle, was missing until she had dropped off the tourists at the Pacific Islands Club.

The victim said she reviewed footage from the vehicle’s camera and saw what happened.

A community member who posted the video on Facebook said the stolen Grey Michael Kors backpack contained a Gucci wallet, a Fendi pouch, a Samsung tablet PC A4, a Club at the Hyatt membership card, credit card and cash.

After the video was posted online, the Crime Stoppers hotline received several tips. Police then brought in Babauta for questioning.

Police said Babauta confessed and was arrested on a charge of burglary and theft.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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