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May 9, 2013

Masked gunmen storm UB dorm and tie up students

We’ll have the court details of the Caleb Orozco case and a robbery at his house coming up, but first we go to the nation’s capital where a terrifying robbery took place on Wednesday night. Fourteen students were attacked and robbed by armed men at the University of Belize, Belmopan Campus. The group of foreign exchange students and some Belizeans were in their dorms when masked men armed with nine millimeter handguns and point thirty-eight revolvers as well as shotguns, pounced on them just before nine o’clock. The frightened students were bound and ordered to lie on the floor as the robbers went through the dorms and robbed it clean. They tried to get help on social media, but the robbers were able to get away.  Duane Moody reports from Belmopan.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The brazen robbery took place just before nine on Wednesday night as students were dismissed from their last classes at the University of Belize in the capital. Fourteen students, mostly foreign exchange, were attacked by six armed robbers dressed in full black wearing masks and gloves. The male students were tied up and placed within the living room while the robbers had they way ransacking the rooms; swiping over forty-one thousand dollars worth of electronics, cash and personal effects.


Selwyn King

Selwyn King, Public Relations Officer, University of Belize

“Our security officers responded immediately based upon the noise that they heard and the police were also called in at the same time. The armed robbers came through the back of the dorm building through the bushes. They made their way by forcing and breaking the locks and forcing their way through. So we have had quite a number of items—this is initial report; we are still compiling the reports—a number of laptops, flash drives, tablets, phones and cash that were stolen from the students.”


Voice of: Leah Fouching, Foreign Student

“It was my first experiencing having a robbery at gun point. It was like eight o’clock I was on my bed doing some work and I just felt some men—three men came over me covering me—I started to scream because I was calling out for help to the guys that lived on the dorm. But I was screaming so loud and I got hit in my mouth and my feet.”


Namagiri Lopez

Namagiri Lopez, Foreign Student

“I was the last person that they attacked. I was doing homework and I was waiting and someone came to knock at my door and I didn’t open and I asked who it is. And one good friend that lived there told me it’s me open the door. When I opened the door, I saw that the girl was with a guy with a gun here [to the head] and the other two guys pointed me then I tried to close the door but I couldn’t. They took my ring, my laptop, my wallet with money, with my IDs, my bank cards. They took my jewelry, my school bag and I’m checking what else they took. I’m checking my room and I want to move today.  They took us to the living room, but before they said that you are so pretty, you are so pretty. And then they started speaking in Spanish too. They spoke English and Spanish, perfect Spanish. They started talking to each other and say she is pretty in Spanish too and we have to take with us. And I said please no.  I saw all the guys, all the big guys, strong guys, on the floor tied. And they said that we have to lie of the floor too and they say that we should not stand up until after ten minutes because they will go outside and that we don’t call the police either.”


Joanna Luna, Foreign Student

Joanna Luna

“I listened to my friends screaming and crying. I opened the door. They told me everything in seconds and I closed the door immediately, opened my laptop and started sending messages on Facebook telling people please help, help in Spanish. Call the police, call the police because they are people here stealing us.”


Several of the victims recounted the horrific ordeal that has left them traumatized. Many are planning to relocate back home to Mexico, Colombia and Trinidad.


Namagiri Lopez

“I don’t know why, but we have to enter from that side and we always said that that was dangerous or us girls because someone can stay on the bush. And they didn’t do anything. There is a door here that connect this dorm with the other dorms but they’re lock.  I don’t want to stay here, but today I am going to leave the campus because it is not secure.”


Voice of: Leah Fouching

“Yes I am going back on Friday.”


Duane Moody

“Your program had finished or it is just due to incident?”


Leah Fouching

“It did, but I still have assignments to submit but I will return to my country for now and I will figure out where I will go from there because I don’t feel safe staying here in Belize.”


The robbers were pursued by security personnel through some bushes behind the dormitory, but escaped.


Selwyn King

“Initial report that there are roughly about six armed robbers basically and following that our security officers then went after and they followed the trail and it led them right through the high bushes; way into the bushes out here.”


The school’s dormitory sits just across from the gymnasium in the San Martin area…unfortunately, it is not fenced but is guarded by security.  Simultaneously, around the exact same time of the robbery, a football match was occurring adjacent to the dorm. Public Relations Officer, Selwyn King, says that security measures will be boosted to ensure the safety of the students attending the national university.


Selwyn King

“Anyone who experience any incident would be traumatized including yourself and myself. We have maintained and steadfast in our commitment in terms of providing a safe, conducive and learning environment for all students.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


According to one of the victims, the robbers claimed they were members of a gang. The stolen items are worth over forty-one thousand dollars and police is asking for help in solving this major crime. 

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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18 Responses for “Masked gunmen storm UB dorm and tie up students”

  1. Storm says:

    It’s a pretty terrible crime, and raises many obvious questions.

    How do men carrying so much stolen property through bushes manage to escape from officers supposedly in hot pursuit?

    Why build a dormitory and omit even putting up a fence? That’s the least, most basic security measure for everyone.

    In an ideal world, obviously there would be surveillance cameras [hard to tell if it would help with masked robbers, but if they also watch the perimeter, maybe they would catch the robbers before they put on masks] and “panic button” alarms that would alert police directly.

    We can do better, and we must. At the same time, I’m very relieved nobody died — I’m thankful for small favors.

    A black eye for us, for sure, when these exchange students return home and scare off other foreigners.

    I hope there is leadership among the UB students who will not let this issue be hidden under the rug — if it’s not addressed, someday there will be murder done there.

    Finally, the robbers spoke “perfect Spanish” — another benefit of our open border with our neighbors?

  2. Storm says:

    I forgot one thing — my personal guarantee. This gang enjoyed so much success in this robbery, $41,000 taken from a soft target in a few minutes — THEY WILL DO IT AGAIN.

    Every dormitory in the nation needs to make itself a hard target with all the security measures they can afford. Students, too, should organize and plan how to react to the next armed invasion. It’s possible that passive submission is the best course to save lives, but that may not work so well next time, or the time after that.

  3. not again says:

    What a shame. The students come from high crime country like Mexico and Colombia. Now they dont feel safe in Belize. If they were talking in spanish maybe it is a gang from Belmopan or Salvapan. What a shame.

  4. Factsstraight says:

    This is a shameful and humiliating experience for our small nation. I have always wondered why the so-called security guards (males & females) are aways piled up front or gathered in groups in certain sections of the campus having a jolly time. They are either busy distracting the “pretty” UB in the case of males and as we all know, in the case of females, gossiping. Too many robbereies have been happening at UB right under these guards’ noses! Change them and get competent officers!

  5. Eric says:

    I will regrettably say what I am about to say and I will say it not to sound as if I am racially profiling any group of people but because it is the inconvenient truth. An official from the police department told me that they know of the gangs that commit these robberies and they are not Belizeans they are from across the border and every time they commit a robbery or assault they run back across the border until the heat dies down. So if they are not Belizeans why do we have an immigration department? Do we have an immigration department just for the purpose of selling passports to foreigners and issue passports to born Belizeans? The police official spoke as though their hands were tied in this matter; so this just means that these robberies and assaults will not stop. Since they can’t think let me do the thinking for them and the solution is a simple one go into these areas (Maya Mopan, Salvapan and Las Flores etc.) with officials from the immigration department and anyone without proper documentation lock them up, send them through the court system and then deport them. How many times have you seen in the news the words Guatemalan Citizen, Honduran Citizen, Salvadorian Citizen etc. tied to crimes? Do you think they would tolerate Belizeans committing crime in their country? We would be lucky enough just to be deported. I have said this time and time again; we need to know who is in our country and why they are here. While Belize is a haven for people seeking a better life we are also a haven for people running away from the crimes they committed. Let’s face it most born Belizeans grew up law abiding and peaceful. We were never exposed to civil war, severe oppression to the extent that crime and violence is a must and we had nor have no child soldiers. Our country is strained as it is by crimes committed by a new generation that were born here and were though nothing about civic pride and human dignity that was common in the not so distant past. The difference between our home grown criminals and the ones that are coming into our country is that the transplants have a safe haven to run back to and thus can escape the hand of justice. We have enough problems of our own and I am calling out the government to do something about it or are you afraid of upsetting the people that you make citizens over night and the people that you pay to vote for you, the people that you now regard as the new Belizean voters?


    Eric, thanks so very much , I cannot find better words.

  7. jajaja says:

    why would you even want to go to school there. That school look like !@#$!

  8. Louisville,Ky says:

    @ Eric…Well said my boy. I think you hit the nail directly on the head. GSU need to turn it’s attention to Belmopan and the surrounding areas. Their vicious no nonsense approach to crime and violence in the Old Capitol must now be employed in the New Capitol. These transplanted gangs need to get the sense. Lets hear some complaints of Police brutality from them.
    Commander Vidal where art thou, now that we need thee?

  9. Auntie says:

    well GSG, PIV and SSG don’t sound like immigrants to me. our problem in Belize, we belize immigrants bring AIDS, immingrants drive up crime.,immigrants steal all the jobs. who is facilitating their immigration. who was openly paying for their papers before election,

  10. Eye in the Sky says:

    Wow that is terrible but that University of Belize Student Dorm looks even more terrible.
    The UB Campus looks bad also.
    Why would anyone want to go to school there?
    Have we no pride in this country?
    Why do the schools and peoples homes look like trash bins?
    Stop throwing garbage out of your windows and clean the place up.
    Poverty does not mean you have to live like a pig.

  11. ceo says:

    These are the kind of issues that the GOB should be focussed on but these days we are too focussed on who sleeps with who!

  12. cecilia usher says:

    @ Eric, I couldn’t agree with you more…you know of what you speak. It’s time for the authorities to start taking a different approach to crime fighting and crime prevention, this is not the Belize of the past.

  13. Storm says:

    Eric for Minister of National Security — and Immigration, too!

  14. belize spanish says:

    Eric is racist

  15. Eric says:

    And you my friend Belize spanish are a complete moron. where in my statement did I mention anything about race? Racist would mean that I am discriminating based on the color of a persons skin; so I invite you to point out exactly where I mentioned the color of anyones skin. Let me enlighten you as you my friend are as dumb as a bag of nails… They are infact multi color and mullti ethnic people in our neighboring countries and not just hispanics. You are the poster child for the necessity of education.

  16. Seletar says:

    @belize spanish, I have to stand up for @Eric when you accuse him of racism.

    He didn’t say anything about Belizean Hispanics, only the criminal immigrants that come here from the Hispanic countries that surround us. It’s the CRIMINALITY he is prejudiced against, not the skin color or language. And I’m prejudiced against criminals too, no matter what color their skin or what language they speak!

    Does Belize have a right to enforce its borders, and stop people from entering illegally? It does, and I wish it would do a lot better job of it. Did you read the story about the traffickers who brought in peo0ple from India in today’s news?

    Belize is a melting pot, and I like it that way, it’s a stew with a lot of flavors. I just want our nation to have control of what goes into our stew!

  17. anewvoice says:

    And Belize Spanish is an IDIOT.

  18. Hatari says:

    Yes, these bad guys are probably from Guatemala & Honduras. but they live right there in Belmopan and surrounding villages and you better believe that they are in partnership with our own local bad guys. There had to be local knowledge to pull off this one. And why didn’t the police deploy the K-9 Unit to track them. That is what they are there for. Our dogs are good but for some reason spend most of their time in the kennels.

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