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Mar 30, 2010

Murder and Robbery of Scotia Bank, Spanish Lookout branch

murder3Five thieves hit a bank in Spanish Lookout today in one of the biggest and deadliest bank heists in recent times. They got away with a large sum of money during the armed hold-up, almost double the biggest amount won in the lotto.  Over three hundred thousand dollars was stolen in the robbery when the thieves zeroed in on the Scotiabank Spanish Lookout branch.  But what’s worse is that a security guard from Unitedville was killed in the robbery. He had just taken up duty after working the night at another location.  It’s a sad day for his pregnant wife whose baby is due any day now. News Five’s Marion Ali has the story.

Marion Ali Reporting,

Life will never be the same for twenty three year old Shaily Lopez, who lost her husband to gun violence today.  The murder happened just before eight-thirty this morning when five armed masked robbers entered the Scotiabank Spanish Lookout branch and forced the employees to open the bank’s vault where they stole a huge amount of cash.

Stephen Lopez

Stephen Lopez

In the process, they also robbed a customer of ten thousand dollars and shot the security guard, thirty two year old Stephen Lopez, who was deployed to the bank for the day.  Lopez was shot five times as he ran towards the adjacent Police Station but fell dead halfway between the two buildings.  One of the robbers was also shot by a police officer who heard the gunshots that killed Lopez.  But none of the robbers was apprehended.

Superintendent Paul Wade, O.C., San Ignacio

“ Eyewitnesses identified a shotgun and there were other guns as well.  That is being investigated.”

Marion Ali

“From the intelligence that you’ve picked up here, I know it’s preliminary still but might this have been a case of the perpetrators studying the movements of the employees, timing the hit being its approaching Easter?”

Superintendent Paul Wade

“The criminals are determined to carry out their act so we from the security forces have to continue our efforts.  It is difficult but we would like also to ask the general public who have any information at all to call us.”

This was not the first time that thieves had planned to carry out something of this magnitude in Spanish Lookout.

Allen Reimer, Chairperson, Spanish Lookout Community

“ The robbers took hostage somebody and took his vehicle, very very similar to what happened last Friday.  So far we believe it’s the same crew.  Last Friday it was a failed attempted.  This morning it worked. We want to be open to all possible customers and yet we want to screen them if we could but we definitely will be contemplating more what options we have and how we can implement them for the security of our customers.”

Lopez’ wife says that he was anxiously awaiting the birth of his first child, who is due at any time.

Shaily Lopez

Shaily Lopez

Shaily Lopez, wife of murder victim

“ Everyday ih come home ih rub my belly and kiss mi belly.  He just talk about di baby, like he can’t wait fi see ah, how ih wah look, if ih wah favour he.  We just get married eena January.”

Stephen Lopez was working a double shift, according to his wife.  He had worked all night at the Belize Natural Energy where he is normally stationed but this morning, his security firm instructed him to report to the bank to fill in for another employee.  But Sheily says her husband sensed that something bad was about to happen.

Shaily Lopez

“ Before he gone yesterday he seh babe I know something wah happen and dat dah all ih tell me and I never want question ah caz I noh want think dat something mi wah happen to ah.  But he mi know something mi wah happen dah dat bank because deh always put only one security deh and starting last week deh put two security deh.”

Superintendent Paul Wade

“ The workers were pretty shook up and the community here is very supportive of our Police Department.  They’ve given us all the support that they can.”

Marion Ali

Do you have any leads at this moment?

Superintendent Paul Wade

“We’re working on the case and I don’t think it is prudent to release whatever leads we have right now but we’re working very hard.”

San Ignacio police are now reviewing video images which the bank’s surveillance camera captured.  They are also looking for the getaway vehicle with help from a private chopper over and around Spanish Lookout.

Superintendent Paul Wade

“ We are looking for a vehicle that has been identified as a white Suzuki sidekick.  From the bank the getaway vehicle left for the right of the bank towards the area that leads to the Valley of Peace Road.”

After the robbery and murder the bank put up this sign to inform that it will be closed until the police investigation is completed.  Marion Ali for News Five.

After the robbery and murder the bank put up this sign to inform that it will be closed until the police investigation is completed.

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51 Responses for “Murder and Robbery of Scotia Bank, Spanish Lookout branch”

  1. Linda (will never go back to Belize) says:

    I’m so happy to hear that you Shaily and Steven Jr. are okay. It would have been great if the bank had given you more money to assist in the care of you and the baby, but that’s how they treat people. They don’t care that your hubby lost his life while on the job protecting their bank. He sounds like a wonderful man, loving husband and potentially good father. He was also a SACRIFICE. I say this because had your husband not died, who knows how many others would have died at the hands of these a-holes. My husband and I were ripped off by Michael Rodriguez. He stole $300 from us while we were on vacation there in 2010, so he was let out of jail after assisting in the bank robbery and the murder of your husband. Sound like a corrupt police/political system.
    Small comfort to you to hear this, but, had your husband NOT been shot first, thereby satisfying this gang’s bloodlust, possibly scarring them in the process, I do believe they would have entered that bank killing many more. Again, I know this doesn’t afford you any comfort other than to know that he is probably in heaven looking and guiding you. All my prayers to you.
    I think the bank, and the security company should have given you at least and the baby money up front as well as a college fund for your little one.
    Again,mim so very sorry.

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