Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 6, 2018
Bountiful man also charged in assault of Maverick clerk

A Bountiful man has been charged in 3rd District Court with the robbery and assault of a convenience store clerk.

Suliasi Niulala Vakalahi, 24, is charged with first-degree felony aggravated robbery, second-degree felony aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and misdemeanor theft. Helamen Tuakalau Makalio, 25, is facing the same charges for the same incident. 

On Aug. 15, Tooele City police and Tooele County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Maverik convenience store in Tooele on reports of a robbery, a probable cause statement said. Upon arrival, police administered aid to a store clerk who had been severely beaten. 

Police were told four individuals entered the store, took beer and then left without paying for it, the statement said.  The clerk had gone outside to get the suspect’s license plate number and was punched several times by two individuals, later identified as Vakalahi and Makalio, breaking his nose and knocking out several of his teeth. 

A witness followed the suspects’ vehicle to a Tooele City residence, where they observed part of the suspect group exit the vehicle and the remainder leaving, the probable cause statement said. A search warrant for the home was executed and Makalio and Vakalahi were identified by those residing in the home. 

Later on Aug. 15, Makalio turned himself over to police and admitted to the robbery and assault, according to the probable cause statement. 

Officers attempted to contact Vakalahi but were told by his family that he had fled to Alabama, the statement said. 

A $100,000 warrant was issued for Vakalahi in 3rd District Court by Judge Matthew Bates on Wednesday. Makalio is scheduled to return to court for a scheduling conference on Sept. 11 at 9 a.m. before Bates.


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