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Jan 10, 2023

Elderly Siblings Lose $250,000 in Belmopan Aggravated Burglary

Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in cash! That is what two elderly brothers are claiming they lost during an aggravated burglary in Belmopan. The eighty-year-old and seventy-five-year-old siblings from Maya Mopan had just arrived home from working their farm on the night of October fourteenth, 2022, when a group of armed men barged into their home demanding money. After death threats were hurled towards the elderly siblings, they handed over a duffle bag containing a quarter million dollars in cash. The culprits then made good their escape. It was not until yesterday that the men visited the Belmopan Police Station to file a formal report in which they identified the alleged perpetrators; several of them are police officers. News Five’s Paul Lopez takes a closer look.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Eighty-year-old Candido Martinez and his brother, seventy-five-year-old Sergio Perez, are farmers. They live in the Maya Mopan area of Belmopan inside a wooden structure with a partition to divide their quarters. All of Martinez’s belongings are inside this cramped space, a small bed, a clothes line, a couple chairs, a table and a few kitchen utensils. They share an outdoor kitchen.  But, these unsuspecting siblings have been keeping a secret that got out and brought them face to face with death.


Candido Martinez

Candido Martinez, Victim of Aggravated Burglary

“What happened was that we went to work and when we returned my brother was resting on a chair and I was in a hammock. They came at seven-thirty in the night, the man and his son who is a police officer in Valley of Peace. A cousin and another police officer, who I do not know, also came.”


Martinez and Perez reportedly kept two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, in cash, inside a duffle bag in Martinez’s room. That is until a group of men, allegedly consisting of police officers, stormed into the house on October fourteenth,2022 and demanded that they hand over the money.


Candido Martinez

“They came on October 14 and assaulted us in my house. They tied us up, both my brother and me. They asked me where the money was and I told them I don’t have any. They said you either give us the money or we will kill you. They threatened us and so I decided to tell them that the money was inside a duffel bag that was under a chair. They took the bag, tore it apart and threw the money on the ground by where I was lying. I could not do anything since I was tied up.”


Martinez and Perez visited the Belmopan Police Station on Monday, almost three months later, to make a formal report. They reportedly left the country to El Salvador the day after the incident, because the perpetrators told them that they would be killed if they told anyone. But, they have since returned to Belize and they agreed to give us an interview so that their horrific experience becomes known to the public.


Candido Martinez

“It was $250,000 that they took, along with $18 that belonged to my brother. I was going to use that money to buy another piece of land so that I won’t have problems with them and the land that they took from me. I lost double the amount there. I am a victim -  I was left without money and without food.”


So, how did two elderly men come across two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in cash? And, why did they not deposit this money into the bank?


Candido Martinez

“I came here to work, building houses in Belmopan. I have saved my money for  my old age. I didn’t come to steal or harm anyone. I came to work hard to have my money. I have not deposited my money in the bank because I have never had the need to do so, since I live in a humble house and I consider Belize to be a safe place to live.”


But, if they kept the cash a secret, how did the culprits find out about it? The persons that Martinez is accusing of committing this crime are known to him. He says, prior to the incident he attempted to buy a piece of land with their assistance, but the deal went sideways when one of the perpetrators placed his own name on the land papers. A tearful Martinez told us that since his money was stolen life has been hard, because he now has to live off handouts and the little he gathers from his farmland.


Candido Martinez

“I don’t know how they found out about the money. They had asked me where I got the money to buy the land and it was then that they figured that I had money. Now they have come to take all that I had to maintain myself.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.


We reached out to police for comments on the aggravated assault and the allegation that police officers were involved. We did not receive a response up to news time. We will continue to follow.

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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