Cayman Islands immigration officials have confirmed that two men were arrested Wednesday at the department’s Elgin Avenue headquarters.
The arrests occurred after a staffer said he recognised one of the men from photos of two robbery suspects circulating the Islands.
Margaritaville, in heart of George Town’s waterfront tourist district, was hit by armed robbers last Friday around 8.30am. Police said the two suspects threatened the businesses’ employees and got away with a bag of cash.
There were no immediate arrests. Police on Wednesday sent out an advisory titled ‘Have you seen these men?’ with pictures of the two suspects, which were posted quickly on local news websites, including www.caycompass.com.
Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans could not confirm whether the two men arrested were suspected in the Margaritaville heist. Royal Cayman Islands Police were also unable to confirm that by press time.
According to reports, the two men were recognised by the immigration officer because they were wearing the same clothes as those featured on the closed-circuit TV cameras that captured their images outside Margaritaville. However, RCIPS would not confirm those accounts.
‘A gentleman came to the counter asking for an extension of time (to stay in the Cayman Islands) and the officer thought he looked like the same man in the photo that was just published,’ Mrs. Evans said.
Mrs. Evans said the second individual who was arrested was visiting the Immigration Department with the man at the counter.
Last week’s robbery at Margaritaville set off new concerns about rising crime levels in the Cayman Islands and led Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush to call Police Commissioner David Baines to the Legislative Assembly for a private meeting.
Mr. Baines released a statement Wednesday indicating that he spoke to lawmakers about the need for increased police presence on the streets.
More police foot patrols have been spotted around Grand Cayman in recent days in response to the commissioner’s plan.
‘The public have a right to expect police to be on the streets and preventing crime,’ Mr. Baines said. ‘Whilst I have had to deviate staff from other areas, you will see more police around the island.’
Mr. Baines said a more visible and constant officer presence at key positions was designed to prevent crime and intercept criminals more quickly when crimes do occur.
Arrests were made earlier this week in connection with another high-profile mid-day robbery that occurred 23 September at Quik Cash, also in the George Town central district along Shedden Road.
Two men were taken into custody Tuesday morning at the Quik Cash store after an employee said they recognised the suspects from the September armed robbery. Police said the two men were detained for questioning in the incident, but have not been charged.