A 21-year-old man and three of his friends have been charged with stealing musical instruments from the Guitar Center in Tacoma and selling them to pawn shops.
Milo Tinifu, who faces nine counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property, is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 18. Also charged in the case are Faletoi Seiaute, 20; Ezra Yamauchi, 21; and Shane Yamauchi, 24.
Police began investigating the group in March 2011 after a teenage girl tried to sell a $2,000 guitar to the Guitar Center – hours after it had been stolen.
Employees recognized the stolen instrument and called police. They told detectives a group of young men had been stealing guitars and ukuleles recently.
According to charging papers:
Detectives discovered that a group of young men had been pawning ukuleles at a local shop, which provided police with surveillance footage showing Tinifu stealing an Xbox gaming system from the pawn shop.
Between February and March 2011, Tinifu sold or pawned 11 ukuleles, five guitars, a banjo and a mandolin at shops in Tacoma, Parkland and Federal Way.