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Jun 8, 2006

Burglar prayed for protection but ran out of luck

Story PictureSchool break-ins are not a particularly unusual crime … but the one that occurred last night in Cayo came with a special twist.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
Around three this morning, police were informed that someone had broken into the snack shop at the Santa Elena Primary School. When the officers arrived on the scene, the three burglars were still inside the building and the police immediately identified the alleged leader as twenty year old Victor Castellanos. They say that Castellanos is a well known criminal but what they discovered among the stolen items in this latest arrest makes them believe that the burglar sought help them from a higher power. Inside Castellanos black knapsack the police found this small bottle of oil and a prayer that he used as a means of protection for his criminal acts.

Sgt. Gilroy Nicholas, O.C., San Ignacio Police
?He said he used the prayer to elude the owners of the house and the oil. So he rubbed himself with the oil first and then he say the prayer to enter so that he is caught but unfortunately luck ran out on him.?

Castellanos and his accomplices gained access by breaking a board by a back window which they easily opened to get in the shop. Once inside they quickly helped themselves to a variety of children treats. Police believe these two bed sheets found in the bag were stolen from off someone?s clothesline.

Today the school children eagerly gathered at their favourite snack shop many not even aware what had happened. School principal Manuel Medina says it is not the first time that there has been a break in on the compound. Medina says it has been a frustrating experience for them.

Manuel Medina, Principal, Santa Elena Primary School
?It?s something that has been happening very frequently. The staff and myself at times get discouraged because it seems as if there is nothing that we can do. We have required the services of a watchman but it looks like they are observing him, what time he is not around and that is the time they come into the buildings. All they do is turn over books, sometimes they do find small change and water bottles have gone.?

San Ignacio police say as schools get ready to close for the long summer break this is the time when there seems to be an increase in burglaries. Medina says he is grateful to the person who called the police.

Manuel Medina
?Because after all the school is for their children. It?s for them, and if we don?t take care of it, who is going to take care of it? We have gone to the radios and made it public by asking the community and everybody to try to help us. If you notice we have put up a fence and we have gates that we lock but they are still not helping, so we are asking the community for help. We got a watchman, but it is still not helping the way we would want it to help.?

As for Castellanos? Today he was handcuffed and taken to the magistrate court where he was charged with burglary and handling stolen goods.

Jacqueline Godwin for News Five.

Castellanos had been out on bail for only a week following charges for a similar 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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