Victim disputes police robbery report

Royal Cayman Islands Police reported a purse-snatching Saturday night in an area of the Seven Mile Beach strand that is heavily travelled by tourists.

But one of the women who said she was assaulted and then robbed in the area Saturday said something in that police report didn’t add up.

The woman agreed to speak with the Caymanian Compass, and the newspaper has decided not to identify her to protect her from potential retaliation by her attackers.

The report – released Monday – indicated that the incident occurred around 9.40pm Saturday when two women walking along West Bay Road were approached by two men on bicycles. The police report stated that one of the bike riders grabbed the woman’s purse and rode off.

The police report then states that the two men were arrested a short while after the robbery and that the victim’s stolen purse was recovered.

The victim who had her purse taken agrees that there were two men on bicycles and that her belongings were stolen – but that’s where the similarities end.

First, she indicates that the attack took place about an hour earlier – around 8.30pm Saturday – and that the suspects first attacked her friend; attempting to take her friend’s handbag.

‘My friend was knocked off her feet by a blow to her neck,’ the woman told the Compass. ‘The first robber grabbed my friend in a headlock with brutal force and dragged her to the (ground) while still seated on his bike. He continued to punch and yank at her handbag while dragging her into the road.’

The woman said she tried to help her friend by attacking the first robbery suspect from behind.

‘But I simply wasn’t strong enough to detain him,’ she said. ‘(Then) the second robber intervened. It all happened so fast. We managed to take the bike from the first robber and he fled on foot without my friend’s handbag.’

‘I tried to chase after the robbers, one still mounted on his bike, the other running…into the vicinity of Slate Drive,’ the robbery victim said, adding that a female taxi driver who was in the area at the time of the attack continued to chase after the man on the bike – to no avail.

During the struggle, the woman had her own purse taken by the second robbery suspect. She said she didn’t even notice it happened until after the robbers were gone.

‘It was a very traumatic experience,’ she said.

The woman said police response was timely; she said a number of officers arrived on the scene within minutes and that RCIPS personnel acted professionally. She also thanked police officers involved for ‘treating us with absolute care and carrying out an extremely thorough investigation.’

She also thanked the taxi driver who chased after the suspects, and the Family Resource Centre for their counselling and support.

However, the woman said the police report of the event contained discrepancies and was somewhat lacking.

‘The police report makes it sound like a walk in the park,’ she said. ‘I feel people need to be aware.’

Police did double-check the time of the first robbery report with 911 records and confirmed the initial call came in at 9.38pm. The victim made her first call to the emergency centre at 9.41pm Saturday. There was no other robbery reported in the vicinity an hour earlier.

RCIPS officials also confirmed that two men were arrested in the attack, one about 20 minutes after it occurred. Police also said that a purse was recovered from one of the suspects, but the robbery victim indicated she had not recovered any of her belongings from the heist and was unaware that arrests had been made.

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