Two robbers brandishing
what appeared to be firearms entered a First Caribbean Bank in George Town just
before noon Thursday, managing to make off with some cash after threatening
a security guard with a firearm.
According to witnesses,
the men came around the side of the bank building, which is in the Plaza
Venezia shopping complex near the intersection of North Sound Road and Shedden
The side of the bank faces
North Sound Road and a woman who was in the car park of the shopping centre
said she saw two armed men running around the building carrying guns.
A second witness – who
only wanted to give her first name, Maria – said she saw the men confront two
security guards while pointing their weapons in the air.
“I saw two guys behind
[the security guards] pointing a gun at their head,” Maria, who had gone into
the First Caribbean to use the ATM, said. “When I see them pushed…inside the
bank I just ran out; I was just running for my life.”
Security Centre President
Stuart Bostock said that his company had one security officer stationed outside the bank and another
stationed inside. He confirmed neither man had been injured, but was unable to
provide any further details by press time.
A third witness, who had gone into the bank to make a
deposit, said she heard “shuffling” at the door and looked up to see two armed
men coming into the building. This witness said she saw the two men taking cash
from customers inside the store, but she was not certain if anything was taken
from the bank itself.
Police later confirmed that two bank customers had been robbed.
“I’m so scared, I’m so scared, I almost just died in
there,” said Clara Ebanks, visibly shaking as she walked back out to her car.
“One of the tellers in there was so scared she was shaking all over, she was so
nervous. Everybody in there is crying.” Ms Ebanks said no one in the
store was hurt.
Royal Cayman Islands Police Officers were on the scene
of the bank holdup within minutes, armed officers were spotted walking through
the parking lot and helicopters and ground units circled the area in the hunt
for the suspects. Witnesses said they spotted the men leaving in a blue
car, but couldn’t say what make or model. Police roadblocks were set up in
certain areas and were checking cars as they went by.
Thursday’s incident was the first robbery to be reported
at a Grand Cayman bank in 2011.
The previous year set a record for bank heists in Cayman
with three. In November, the Butterfield Bank at the Compass Centre was held
up, in September the Fidelity Bank on Dr. Roys Drive in George Town was robbed
and then in February, the Cayman National Bank branch in the Countryside
Shopping Centre in Savannah was robbed.
Prior to those incidents, the last
bank robbery to occur in Cayman was in March 2006 at the Centennial Towers in
Police and bank statements
At 3pm Thursday, Royal Cayman Islands Police released the following statement:
“George Town detectives are hunting for two masked men following a robbery at First Caribbean Bank located at Plaza Venezia on North Sound Way.
“At 11:33am Thursday, two masked men entered the bank armed with what appeared to be handguns, threatened staff and customers and demanded money.
“The suspects then made off from the premises with a sum of cash taken from two customers.
“No one was injured in the incident and no shots were fired. Both suspects left the location on foot headed towards the direction of Jacques Scott.
“Police uniform and armed officers immediately attended and secured the scene. The RCIPS Air Operations Unit was deployed to assist in the search for the suspects.
“Both suspects were described as dark-skinned males; both were wearing dark-colored clothing, long pants and long sleeved shirts. One of the suspects was wearing a black knitted mask while the other was wearing a white-t-shirt over his face. One of the suspects is described at 5’11 to 6′ feet tall, slim-built and the other is approximately 5’5, medium built.
“Anyone with information into this incident is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Joseph Wright or any officer of the George Town CID at 949-4222. The detective is keen to hear from anyone who was in the area at the relevant time this morning and may have seen the incident or the suspects fleeing the scene. Persons can also call the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).”
In a statement released late Thursday, First Caribbean said it would re-open on Friday:
Managing Director Tom Crawford said counselling services were called to the
branch to assist members of staff who are understandably shaken by the
“Our first consideration is for the safety of our
staff and we are thankful that they are all safe,” Mr. Crawford said.