Five boys between the ages of 13 and 16 have been arrested in connection with a string of robberies and attempted robberies along West Bay Road earlier this month.
In at least two of the cases, Royal Cayman Islands Police officers said the boys are believed to have carried a pellet gun and used it to threaten the victims.
The first robbery was reported behind the Queen’s Court shopping centre around 10.30pm on 13 July. Police said a woman sitting in her car was approached by a group of youths who knocked on her vehicle’s window and demanded money.
The victim said the boys showed her what appeared to be a small gun. She gave them her bag and they left.
Later that same evening a man was approached by a group of teens in roughly the same area. He also said a member of the group had a gun. However, the man said the boys left him alone after he told them he had no money.
Police K-9 units searched the area that night and turned up nothing.
The next night, another man was accosted by several youths around 9.40pm near West Bay Road on Helen Lane. He also was left alone after telling the suspects he had no money.
No one was injured in any of the robberies. Police said both the teen suspects and the victims in all of the cases are residents.
Four of the five boys; aged 13, 14, 15, and 16 who were arrested were still in police custody as of Friday. The fifth, a 14-year-old, was released on police bail.
The incidents along West Bay Rd. occurred little more than a month after five boys aged 12-17 were arrested after police said they attempted to take money and pizzas from the West Bay Domino’s store.
In the end, no one was hurt and the boys only got away with some sodas. However, RCIPS officials said the incidents were cause for concern.
‘We always have concern when we see young people coming into contact with the law,’ RCIPS spokesperson Deborah Denis said. ‘Over the summer holidays we do tend to get more incidents involving juveniles.’
The teens arrested in the West Bay Road incidents have not been charged.
Under Cayman Islands Firearms Law, air guns, and air pistols are listed in the definition of prohibited weapons. Pellet guns, unless modified, do not come under the category of prohibited firearms.
However, if the weapons are determined to be imitation firearms under Cayman Islands law the boys could end up facing serious punishment.
RCIPS Superintendent Marlon Bodden said these types of robberies remain few and far between in Cayman.
‘Crimes against strangers in public places are exceedingly rare in the Cayman Islands,’ Mr. Bodden said. ‘However, you can make yourself less likely to become a victim by noting some of the following tips:’
• If walking alone, try to stay in well-lit or busy areas.
• Try to look and act confidently, like you know where you are going.
• Try not to be conspicuous about the valuables you are carrying
• If someone tries to take something from you it is normally safer to let them have it rather than risk confrontation or injury.
• Think about what you would do if you are approached by someone wanting to rob you.