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Jan 15, 2019

3 Men Arraigned for Mahogany Street Robbery/Hostage Situation

A trio of men was escorted to court this morning for the brazen heist that evolved into a hostage situation in Belize City on Sunday night. The three: Wayne Welch, Steven Bernard and Richard O’Neil are facing a slew of charges. They are accused of robbing Rong Bin Liang and his wife, the proprietors of Seven Days Shop on Mahogany Street and holding them hostage until police were able to persuade them to surrender. But this is after they also released the daughter of the storeowners and fired several shots. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. 

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

After being taken into police custody on Sunday night, following a lengthy standoff with police during a hostage situation on Mahogany Street, three Belize City men were hit with a battery of charges stemming from the incident.  Twenty-five-year-old Wayne Welch, twenty-six-year-old Richard O’Neil and twenty-five-year-old Steven Bernard appeared in magistrate’s court this morning accompanied by attorney Oscar Selgado.  They were arraigned on nine counts, including aggravated assault, aggravated burglary with a firearm, wounding and harm, among several others.  Sometime around nine p.m. on Sunday night, the trio, armed with a stolen handgun, entered 7 Days Shop where they held up the proprietors of the business and robbed them of six hundred dollars.  The incident would quickly escalate from a robbery to a dangerous hostage situation when the Asian couple and their sixteen-year-old daughter were taken captive.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“They are all from the Tibruce and Jasmine Street area.”

 

Reporter

“Sir, how were police apprised of the situation in the first place?”

 

Chester Williams

“We got a call from someone.”

 

Reporter

“Did the individuals that were in the building, were they aware of the presence of the young girl at the time?”

 

Chester Williams

“I cannot say.”

 

Reporter

“What was it that you said that brought these people to surrender?”

 

Chester Williams

“I made a call to one of them as I found out who were inside the building and we had a twenty minute back and forth negotiating.”

 

That arbitration ultimately resulted in the surrender of the armed bandits.  After two nights in detention at the Queen Street lockup, they were taken to court for arraignment.  While there, they were additionally charged for wounding businessman Rong Bin Liang and his wife, as well as ComPol Chester Williams and two other officers.  The men, it has since been learned, carried out the robbery using a stolen nine millimeter firearm.  The weapon was reported stolen by Charles Gonzalez who was also robbed by a trio of men in 2017.  Welch, O’Neil and Bernard have all been remanded to prison until March thirteenth. 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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