Tongan couple burglarising 75yo woman in US angers caregiver community

The Tongan couple who was arrested after they burglarised a 75-year-old woman in El Granada, San Mateo, California has infuriated some of the Tongans who worked as caregivers in the United States.

Antonio, 33, and Zorrana Mapapalangi, 38, were arrested by the sheriff’s deputies after forcing themselves into the victim’s house at the 200 block of Coral Reef Ave on August 14 and escaped with an unknown amount of money.

Det. Salvador Zuno of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed to Kaniva News this morning (NZ Time) the Mapapalangis are of Tongan origins.

The victim told deputies one of the intruders “placed a pillow over her head and tied her wrists together while one of them, whom the victim believed was a woman, demanded money.

“When she declined to reveal the money’s whereabouts, the intruders ransacked the residence”, a press release from the sheriff’s office said.

“Even though the victim couldn’t see the intruders, she heard at least two individuals in her bedroom. The victim believed she recognized the female’s voice as belonging to her caretaker.

“Sheriff’s detectives were able to identify Zoranna Mapapalangi and her husband, Antonio Mapapalangi as suspects in this home invasion.  After obtaining a $500,000 arrest warrant for each of them, Sheriff’s detectives located and arrested Antonio, Thursday morning in San Mateo.  Later in the afternoon, Sheriff’s detectives located and arrested Zoranna on in Daly City.  Both were booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility on felony charges.

A Tongan woman by the name Fatafehi Toki who appeared to have been working in the United States as caretaker for years was infuriated by the Mapapalangis’ action.

She wrote on Facebook in Tongan, “sio hifo kihe kakai pehe fau mani eee talu eku i heni he 79 moe ngaue pehe au kihe eku nofo sea koeni teeki iai hato lekooti palaku pehe hoiiiiiii”. This could be translated into English as: “look at this oh my since I was here in 1979 I did the same work until I left without any such disgusting record”.

Some of the commenters who commented on Kaniva’s Facebook pages and groups when the news was first released over the weekend said the couple’s thoughtless action gave Tongan caregivers who were honest and working hard in the United States bad name.

In 2012 Selu Mataele, 30, and Ane Pailate, 55, were convicted of felony charges of theft after committing a $171,256 elder fraud in East Palo Alto, San Mateo County, California.  They were sentenced to 11 months in jail and 5 years probation for defrauding the  82-year-old woman.

Anyone with information regarding the Mapapalangis’ case is encouraged to call Detective Pat Carey at (650) 259-2321 or e-mail him at; [email protected] or Detective Gaby Chaghouri at (650) 259-2314 or e-mail at him at; [email protected]. Those who wish to remain anonymous are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip line at: 1-800-547-2700.

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