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Jun 12, 2017

Toledo Teachers’ Credit Union Robbed of More than 100 thousand dollars

A well-orchestrated robbery was executed with precision on Thursday at the Toledo Teachers Credit Union in the south. A pair of robbers made away with over a hundred thousand dollars in Belize and U.S. currency which would have been used for pensioners, as well as other payments on Friday. After they cut padlocks, shutters and doors, the duo pried open the vault with five-ton hydraulic jacks. Indications are that it was an inside job which no one in the area either saw or heard until employees reported to work on payday. But with all the planning, the burglars both left their trace. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

An overnight grand larceny in Bella Vista, by any stretch of the imagination, may have unfolded like a scene from Ocean’s Eleven, a carefully planned burglary painstakingly carried out by a pair of thieves.  Their target, a branch of the Toledo Teachers Credit Union, a short distance away from the outskirts of Independence Village, was hit on Thursday night.  The job, though ambitious in scope, was well executed.  After several hours of diligence, the duo made off with a large sum of money and two firearms.  This morning, the board of directors at the lending institution met to assess damages.  According to General Manager Leopoldo Romero, the incident took place while the assigned security guard was off duty.


Leopoldo Romero

Leopoldo Romero, General Manager, TTCU

“The security came to work on Friday morning and noticed that the door, the side entrance to the building was wide open and so he informed the supervisor and then the supervisor called the police.  The police came in and we were informed at the branch, at the head office, sorry, that there was a breaking-in into the building.  Thereafter the police came in and looked at the scene and processed the scene and then we went inside to see what happened.  What really happened is that two people got into the building through the side door and pried open the vault door using the powerful five-ton hydraulic jacks.”


The crime is the handiwork of someone who appears to have known the lay of the land, leaving one to wonder whether the burglary was in fact an inside job.


Leopoldo Romero

“First, they cut the fence and got into the compound.  Then they used a big pliers that we use to cut steel, to cut the padlocks of the shutters, then raised up the shutters and then pried open both doors that are securing the building.  They used crowbars to pry open the burglar bar door and then the wooden door was also pried with the crowbars so that they got entrance into there.  But prior to getting into the building, they climbed on top of, using the shed here, they climbed up on the building and cut off the wires that go to the cameras, go to the internet and all of those, you know, even to the a/c they cut off thinking that the dish up there would be the alarm that would go off.  So they just cut it off before entering the building.”


Once inside, the men proceeded into a secure section of the building where the vault is housed.  Wasting no time, they began working to unhinge the heavy metal door.


Leopoldo Romero

“They pried the vault door off the wall and then got into the vault and pried open the safe that contained the money and went away with it.  They used several crowbars, drills and other heavy equipment to get to the money and spent about four hours, the footage is showing us that they were in the building way up to 3:30 in the morning and so that is what really transpired.”


When it was all said and done, the burglars made good with over a hundred and fourteen thousand dollars in both local and U.S. currencies, monies that were earmarked for pensioners and employees of Belize Aquaculture Limited.


Leopoldo Romero

“We had kept this money here to make payments on Friday for pensioners, social securities, BAL shrimp farm and some other entities that work with us.  We had this amount of money to pay out.  So the members do not have to worry about not getting their money, we will provide the service as soon as we can put things back in order here.”


Isani Cayetano

“Can you speak to us on the insurance of the monies and the items that were housed inside this building that were taken?”


Leopoldo Romero

“We have insurance coverage for the building, its content and the cash; therefore, we need to provide the insurance company with the reports and see that we can recover our money through the insurance and also waiting on the police work to see what can be recovered if these fellows are found.”


To successfully apprehend the criminals, Independence Police must first determine their identities.  While the thieves were enterprising at breaking into the building, they weren’t as clever in lifting its surveillance equipment.  Instead of making off with the Digital Video Recorder, the twosome stole the security monitor in its place, leaving behind arguably the most incriminating piece of evidence.


Leopoldo Romero

“They took the monitor and left the DVR that has all the footage of all what transpired and the police are looking at that and trying to identify the fellows that were in there.  They also have fingerprints that they left behind and they also have the tools that they left behind because they left the jack, they left the pincers, they left the drills.  A little out of the fence, they abandoned the stuff there and they also left the jack in the building.”


Isani Cayetano

“What happens next, in terms of stepping up security for this facility?”


Leopoldo Romero

“Well, in reality we have a consultant that just did training on Thursday with all the securities and serviced all the equipment and made an assessment of the buildings here and at the head office.  This consultant will bring a report back to the board and will assist us in beefing up securities both here and at the head office.  So we need to invest more in securities.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Toledo Teachers’ Credit Union Robbed of More than 100 thousand dollars”

  1. Justice says:

    The management of the Branch office had a hand in this just as they did the last time the same establishment was robbed…Their assets need to be monitored closely as the evidence of enrichment will inevitably be revealed.

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