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Dec 23, 2002

Robberies continue, despite police crackdown

It seems like there’s a cop on every corner and well armed B.D.F. soldiers on every street, but it’s still not enough to completely shut down the seasonal surge in crime. Friday was a particularly popular day for robberies as three were reported. Kira Ferguson told police that she was walking with two female friends on Wilson Street when two armed masked men approached them. The assailants took jewellery and cash from the women totalling one thousand, one hundred and eighty-nine dollars. Police say because the robbers wore handkerchiefs and warm caps to cover their faces, their victims were unable to give a good description of the men.

Another hold-up occurred Friday on the Northern Highway. Wayne Webster, a delivery man for Bowen and Bowen, told police that while delivering drinks he and his driver, John Murillo were robbed by two armed men. It is not certain why, but after the assailants made their demands, one of them fired a shot which grazed Webster on his right hand. As a result, the robbers were handed cash in the amount of four thousand, three hundred and eighty-one dollars. They then got into a Mazda 626, which sped off in the direction of Belize City.

Further up the road in Lords Bank Village, Ladyville police have been trying to solve a robbery that took place at the shop of Hong Jing Hong. Hong told police that he had just opened for business when a man, armed with a handgun, entered the store and demanded money. Hong handed over one thousand, two hundred dollars in cash.

While Hong managed to escape from his ordeal without a scratch, Marlon Garbutt was not so lucky. Around three forty-five on Sunday morning, Garbutt was making a call at the phone booth at B.T.L. Park when four unidentified men walked up to him. One of the men hit Garbutt in the back of the head with a bat and then stole his bicycle. Garbutt was admitted to the K.H.M.H. suffering from a fractured skull.

Alert neighbours assisted police in catching a burglar in the act on the island of Caye Caulker. Around two-twenty on Sunday morning police received the call informing them that a theft was in progress at the Treasure Travel dive shop. When the cops arrived on the scene they found one Steve Usher about to carry an iron safe he had managed to back away from the store and put into a stolen wheelbarrow. The safe contained assorted jewellery valued at eleven thousand, five hundred and ninety dollars plus ninety dollars in cash and some personal documents. When the two police officers approached Usher to arrest him, he ran but did not get very far. Authorities say in a final attempt to get away, Usher punched one of the cops, but the police held onto him and took him into custody. Usher was promptly charged with burglary, damage to property, harm, resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a police officer. This morning Usher appeared in court in Belize City and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Meanwhile, police are trying to trace several pieces of electronic equipment that were stolen from the office of Belize Communication and Security Limited in Belmopan. Authorities say the burglary occurred sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, while the business we closed. Police say the burglars got into the building by breaking three glass window louvers and suspect that a child may have been used to slip through the opening. Once inside, the thieves stole two hand held radios; one, Icom brand and one Maxon. Also stolen was an I.B.M. cordless phone, one Toshiba lap top computer, ten calculators and two Maxon flashlights. So far none of the items have been recovered and police advise the public that if anyone tries to sell you these valuable gadgets as a last minute Christmas gift, resist the urge to buy and instead, call the police.

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