Two armed men shot their way through the locked door of a George Town gas station early Friday morning – and stole less than $100.
At about 4.30am police received a report that two female attendants working in Delworth’s Esso heard shots being discharged at the door, shattering the glass.
The terrified attendants locked themselves in the convenience store office as the two suspects, who were dressed in dark clothing, came in through the broken door. The suspects grabbed the cash tray and ran off, police said.
Neither of the attendants were injured in the incident, but both have been left shaken by the ordeal, police said.
RCIPS armed officers, who had been on mobile patrol a few hundred yards away, heard the shots and immediately headed towards the location. As they reached the gas station they saw a car with two people inside drive past them at very high speed. The car was travelling from the direction of the gas station onto West Bay Road. Suspecting that the car occupants may have been involved in the armed robbery, the officers gave chase and stopped the car a short distance away.
A search was carried out and a quantity of ganja was found secreted in the fuel flap area of the car. The two men were arrested on suspicion of possession of ganja. However, nothing was found to suggest that the occupants of the car had been involved in the gas station robbery.
Chief Superintendent John Jones praised the owner and staff of the gas station for doing all the right things and taking the necessary safety precautions to prevent the attendants from being injured.
“Last year when we were experiencing an increase in gas station robberies we spoke with owners and staff and provided security advice such as keeping doors locked and making sure staff had somewhere safe and secure within the premises,” Mr. Jones said. “These two ladies did exactly the right thing, they remained calm despite the terrifying circumstances and they are now in the process of providing statements to our officers.
“The people responsible for these crimes are using guns indiscriminately. Until we get those responsible off the streets all business owners need to work with us, not only to make sure they try to make it as difficult as possible for the robbers to gain access – but most importantly to make sure that appropriate measures are taken to keep their staff as safe as possible. We have increased our mobile patrols and armed capability significantly and in fact officers were only a few hundred yards away when they heard the shots this morning. But unfortunately no matter how much we would like to position an officer in each gas station, restaurant or business premises, we do not have the resources to do that. That’s why we need the community to continue to assist by calling in any suspicious activity.”
Thursday night officers from the RCIPS once again visited business premises to deliver safety leaflets to staff and discuss security issues.
The Chamber of Commerce has also thrown its support behind the efforts of the RCIPS and is asking business owners to review their security measures .
Chamber President James O’Neill said: “It seems another line has been crossed as our community struggles to comprehend the violent crimes committed recently against two small local businesses. We are confident that the responsible persons will be caught but the Chamber urges business owners and employees to be extra vigilant through their day to day operations. At the same time let us remember that we cannot let these incidents change us as a community and we must not allow ourselves to be led by fear and distrust. It is important for all businesses and residents to work together with law enforcement officials. If have any information please contact the police or use the Cayman Crime Stoppers confidential tipster line.”
Anyone with information about the robbery should contact George Town Police station on 949-4222 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800-8477 (TIPS).