By L.K. Hewlett
St. Kitts Reporter
The brazen midmorning robbery that took place on Monday may not have been random, but a calculated act planned weeks in advance.
The assailant was seen in the vicinity of the First Caribbean Bank shortly before the incident occurred. He ambushed the victim, Karen Tyson, an employee of Delisle Walwyn, as she was about to use the bank’s night deposit drop box.
The robber had been hiding in the telephone booth just a few feet away from where the woman was about to make the deposit. A tug-of-war ensued for the black plastic bag, which contained the deposit bag, and according to witnesses on the scene, the woman only relinquished the bag after the man brandished a gun.
At the time of the incident, none of the witnesses to the crime could identify the man as he had been wearing a black t-shirt tied around his head and a handkerchief around the lower portion of his face. They could only saw he had been wearing a black t-shirt and light blue or grey track pants.
With loot in hand, the robber took off between the passage between First Caribbean and Royal Bank of Canada and dashed across the Bay Road in the direction of the cinema. An off duty soldier saw a man running and gave chase after he heard people yelling ‘see him running going across there’. The soldier caught up with the man, but was given a plausible explanation as to why he had been running. At that juncture, the soldier was not aware that a crime had just taken place. He searched the man’s bag but turned up nothing of interest.
After being told by the man that he was only running because he was late catching the bus to work that picked employees up at the bus stop in front of the fire station. In an ironic twist the soldier drove the man to the bus stop and assisted him in getting a lift over to Frigate Bay. The man’s prior actions had aroused the soldier’s suspicion and he returned to the spot where he had nabbed the man, the same spot he had seen him kicking something under a trailer.
The soldier discovered a fake black gun and deposit slips bearing the name Delisle Walwyn and immediately went to the company to make inquiries. Upon learning of the robbery the soldier called for re-enforcement and proceeded to Frigate Bay Development Corporation, where the man said he was employed.
By the time the suspect was apprehended around midday, he had changed clothes, initially denying the clothing switch but eventually confessing to giving them to a friend working at the nearby Marriot Hotel. The clothing the man had worn earlier that morning was retrieved along with the black t-shirt and handkerchief he had used to conceal his identity.
Sources claim that the suspect had reported to work that morning but had allegedly left to commit the crime. The source revealed that the suspect gave several stories regarding the robbery one of which had him receiving the bag from the actual robber. Another story offered by the suspect was that the robbery had been planned weeks in advance and was supposed to be carried out in March. The man said he received a phone call the night before the robbery and given instructions to carry out the plan the following day. According to the suspect, two male employees of Automotive Arts, the branch of Delisle Walwyn, masterminded the entire scheme. The sources were able to confirm that the suspect had one of the employee’s name and number in the contact list of his mobile phone. Delisle Walwyn did not release the amount of money that was contained in the bag nor did they speak to why a female employee was depositing money alone. Sources have indicated that the bag contained approximately EC$14,000 in cash and $8,000 in cheques. The source also indicated that they suspect was seen throwing a bag over a wall near the area where the soldier first stopped him. A search of the area turned a bag of coins that had been a part of the deposit; there was no sign of the cash or cheques. The deposit bag was said to have contained the weekend’s earnings from the company’s branch.
The suspect, who is from the Sandy Point area, was arrested on suspicion of committing the armed robbery. Under the laws of the federation, any person using an object as a weapon to commit a robbery can still be charged for the offence of ‘armed robbery’, even if the object is proven to be fake after the fact.
The police are continuing their investigation but did not say if that would include questioning the alleged accomplices at the company.