Police tackling increasing attacks on businesses
September 10, 2010
Police tackling increasing attacks on businesses

Commissioner of Police Keith Miller has issued a warning to criminals and would be criminals and has said the police force is doing everything in its power to tackle what appears to be an increase in robberies committed on a number of persons and business houses in and around Kingstown.{{more}}

“We are taking the matters so seriously that initiatives have been taken to restructure operational units leave… We have restructured immediately so we can have more men on the ground to deal with the situation,” Miller told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview on Tuesday.

Declining to go into detail about what strategies the police are using to deal with the robberies, Miller, however, issued a warning: “We are not going to allow criminals to interfere with the peace and tranquility of the public. It is our responsibility to deal with these issues, and that is exactly what we are doing.”

In only the last ten months, SEARCHLIGHT has reported stories of twelve victims who have suffered at the hands of robbers.

On Sunday, November 29, 2009, Richland Park businessman Austin Mounsey was hit in the back by an unknown assailant who relieved him of two bags of cash as he (Mounsey) was about to take a deposit at a commercial bank in Kingstown.

Next to be hit was Allied Security on December 16, 2009. The robbery took place shortly after the security company’s car pulled up in front of a commercial bank on Halifax Street just after 10pm. The armed masked robber accosted the female security officer and took off with the money bag. The robber also fired a bullet in the direction of the security guards, but luckily no one was injured.

In January 2010, Steve Wallace was relieved of $7,000 in broad daylight after making a withdrawal from a financial institution in Kingstown. The robber rushed Wallace from behind and grabbed his laptop case, which contained the money. In chasing his assailant, the robber pulled a gun and fired two shots in Wallace’s direction.

Next to fall prey was Ann Murray, on January 26, 2010. Murray was walking along Back Street in Kingstown around midday when a she was pushed from behind by a young man and robbed of an undisclosed sum of money. The assailant, armed with a gun, fled the scene and was pursued by local police officers, whom he fired shots at.

A suspect in that robbery, Wilford Woodley, a 24-year-old welder of Richland Park, escaped Prison authorities at the High Court on February 19 and is up to this day still at large.

On June 22, 37-year-old Venezuelan national Juan Carlos Chinios, who was part of a group of Venezuelans who bought gold in Kingstown, was shot and killed at his Ratho Mill apartment after a daring robbery.

On July 11, Mounsey grabbed headlines again when he was shot and robbed of an undisclosed sum of cash around 6:30pm outside the Bank of Nova Scotia. Police reported that a jeep pulled up alongside Mounsey’s jeep and two masked gunmen accosted him while he was seated in the vehicle. The robbers shot through the passenger side of the vehicle then ran around to where Mounsey was seated and shot him in both arms before relieving him of an unknown quantity of cash.

The Banfield Shell Service Station in Kingstown was held up by two masked gunmen on July 23, around 8:30 p.m. During the heist, the gunmen escaped with an undisclosed sum of money after holding up two of the three attendants on duty at the station.

One week later, proprietor of Hills Minimart, St.Hill DaSilva, was the victim of a gunshot wound to his left leg, after four masked men robbed his business place of $8,000, shortly after 8:15p.m on July 30.

Layou resident Curnique Charles was awaiting transportation just outside Aunt Jobe’s Supermarket when six men ambushed him and stabbed him in his back on August 14, shortly after 8pm. Charles’ attackers walked away with $5,000, which he claimed came from his phone card business and personal money.

Shortly after paying her water bill at the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) at Montrose on August 19, Marva Jordan, 35, was held at gunpoint at around 9:45am as she was walking towards Kingstown and relieved of $463.

The month of August was capped off with a robbery at the Russell’s Cinema, on Sunday 30. It was reported that three masked gunmen rushed the cinema, holding staff and patrons at gunpoint, at about 9:15 p.m. The robbers escaped with just over $3,000.

As the month of August ended, so it continues in September.

National Swimming Coach Rickydene Alexander was robbed at gun point on Friday, September 3, at about 1:40 p.m., while on his way to his workplace at the National Sports Council’s office at the Arnos Vale Playing Field. The daring robbery was done in full view of persons who were at a nearby shop.

Of all the robberies mentioned, no one except for Woodley has been charged.

Adding his voice, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Lenroy Brewster says the string of robberies is of great concern not only to law enforcement but to the citizens of St Vincent.