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Oct 12, 2021

A Chilling Home Invasion in West Landivar

There’s a cautionary tale to share with our viewers tonight and it has to do with keeping large sums of money at home.  Just before daybreak in Belize City, four armed men forcibly entered the premises of two well-known health practitioners in West Landivar and held them at gunpoint.  The pair was bound with duct tape, before the intruders proceeded to ransack the property.  While they were there for money and other valuables, the thieves did not anticipate that they would net a sizeable haul from the night’s plunder.  Tonight, Nurse Melinda Guerra, the Regional Health Manager for Central Health Region, and Doctor Maria Reyes are lucky to have survived the harrowing ordeal.  We begin our newscast with a chilling story that has become all too familiar.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Voice of: Melinda Guerra, Victim of Aggravated Burglary

“I kept pleading to them, telling them that I’m a nurse working with the COVID patients, but one was really insisting and eventually one of them said to me, “Mom, I promise you that… I asked him, “Please don’t kill us and then he said to me, “I give you my word that I will not.”


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Identifying herself as a Regional Health Manager dealing with COVID-19 victims, is perhaps what saved the lives of Melinda Guerra and Dr. Maria Reyes.  They are both victims of a predawn attack during which four armed thieves entered their residence on Chancellor Avenue.


Voice of: Melinda Guerra

“Early this morning, at around 3:46, I heard a noise, like a squeaky sound, but nothing alarming.  So I put on the lights for the house then I went back to my bed and then I heard a second sound and then I heard a third sound, but then I said it’s probably just my nerves, so I just, you know, I just never pay it no mind and I went to sleep.”


What Nurse Guerra heard were sounds coming from the rear of her property, as the quartet pried open the burglar bars on a window on the lower flat.  Thinking nothing of it, she dismissed the noise, only to find out later that the men had gained entry.


Voice of: Melinda Guerra

“It was about a quarter to five when I heard Dr. Reyes, you know, shouting.  I came out and I saw these officers in camouflage clothes and back clothes, so they have like BDF clothes and the black clothes, with hats and they had their faces covered [with] masks.  They had gloves, but initially I thought it was the police but then right away I clicked and I said no, these are thieves.”


Doctor Reyes, who occupies another flat, is recovering from a recent stroke.  According to Guerra, she pleaded with the men not to harm either of them.  That’s when they shifted attention to their primary objective.


Voice of: Melinda Guerra

“That’s when the ordeal started, that they said, “Okay, well they want money.”  So I told them, we don’t have any money in the house, we don’t have. At that time, I never realized, you know, that… well they were searching, four of them.  Four guys, tall guys, three tall guys and one short one.  And then afterwards, then I remember, you know, that probably Doctor has a little box, a cash pan.  I said the only thing we have is a cash pan, you know.  So they asked me, so I went and I got it for them and I, you know, I gave it to them.”


Inside the cash box was a substantial sum in U.S. currency, money that would have been used for a retirement trip to the Holy City.  Under duress, Guerra surrendered the safe, along with various pieces of jewelry that were stored in her bedroom.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the men then stole a piggy bank stuffed with one-dollar coins for good measure, before making off in Dr. Reyes’ late model Toyota Hilux.


Isani Cayetano

“There was a substantial amount of money taken during this aggravated burglary.  Do you believe they had firsthand knowledge that money in large quantities was here?”


Voice of: Melinda Guerra

“That’s hard, you know, question because really we don’t get… strangers don’t really come to the house.  I just think that probably they just saw the house and we were just targeted.  That’s what I think, because when they were [here] they were searching, and searching, and searching and they couldn’t find anything.”


Police have been on the scene since morning as an investigation is underway.  For now, there is no word on the whereabouts of the stolen vehicle. 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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