Robbers hit Cayman National Bank

CNB robbers get away main

Update: One man is in police custody in connection with Thursday’s Cayman National Bank robbery.

The arrest took place following a police operation in West Bay Thursday
evening. The 29-year-old suspect was arrested on suspicion of robbery
and remains in police custody. He has not been charged in connection
with the heist.

Police have also recovered what officers said was “a significant amount of cash” taken in the robbery.

The Cayman National Bank in Buckingham Square on West Bay Road was robbed at approximately 9.30am on Thursday. 

According to eyewitnesses in the surrounding stores, there were no less than three robbers, who made their way into the bank and held it up before attempting to get away in a white sedan. During the escape, the men’s getaway car ran into an armoured vehicle that was making a scheduled visit to the bank. 

Witnesses said the men then ran around the back of the building, leaving cash strewn across the parking lot. 

They were followed by an eyewitness from a nearby business who took photos of the men as they fled. The witness provided the following statement to the Caymanian Compass, who is not releasing their identity to protect them 
from retaliation.  

“I was coming from my office…and witnessed three hooded and masked men jump out of a white small car and run. One had what appeared to be a shotgun. 

“They ran behind the coffee shop and through to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway toward West Bay. I followed them at a distance. 

“A civilian car drove the other way on the highway and stopped to ask what was happening. I told him I was following bank robbers. He turned around at the roundabout and came back to the direction I was going. 

“By the time he was to my position I had witnessed the bank robbers enter a parked mini-van. I told the civilian in the car to follow the van. The van was newish, shiny and burgundy in colour and sped off towards West Bay. 

“About 10 seconds later a police car drove by. I waved him down and provided to him a description of the mini-van. They then sped off to follow.” 

One woman, working in a store in the Buckingham Square, who did not want to be named, said her friend was in the bank. She described her friend’s experience from inside the bank as relayed to her. 

“….once the robbery happened and the men ran out, my friend said the security locked the door. They then let her out and she ran over to where I am and I was able to calm her down. I then went over there and the security guards were visibly shaken. They said they had called the police, at which time I came back over to my store and called 911 to ask where the police were. They told me ‘the police were looking for the robbers’. There was money in the parking lot. It all happened so quickly.” 

Reports about the police taking 20 minutes to arrive on the scene were addressed by RCIPS spokesperson Janet Dougal, “The information that it took officers 20 minutes to ‘get there’ is incorrect. The call was received by 911 at 9.42am and several units were immediately dispatched. For obvious reasons we will not discuss specific details of police tactics or our operational response to such incidents. We can confirm that officers immediately carried out their respective roles which include setting up road blocks in the surrounding area in response to the information that the suspects had made off from the scene.  

“The first officer arrived at the bank 16 minutes after the initial call was received but that should not be inaccurately interpreted or indeed reported that no police action was taken until that time.” 

RCIPS noted the following in a later statement to the press Thursday afternoon: “On receipt of the initial call several police units were immediately deployed to the area. Officers, acting on the information received about the red car set up road checks and carried out extensive searches for the vehicle. A short time after the robbery the car was recovered in the West Bay area. Officers are currently carrying out enquiries at two addresses in West Bay in connection with the ongoing enquiry.

“There have been some suggestions that officers took between 20 – 30 minutes to attend the scene of the bank. Initially the RCIPS had responded to those concerns by confirming that the first uniformed officer attended the bank 16 minutes after the initial call.

“However, having reviewed the incident, we can now confirm that two plain clothes officers were on scene within 8 minutes of the initial 911 call.  These officers attended the scene while operational staff set up road blocks and undertook other operational duties relating to the incident.”

The suspects were described as follows:

1    5’8” in height wearing long jean pants, white shirt, a reflective vest and a yellow/ orange hard hat
2    5’11” in height, dark brown complexion and shoulder length dreadlocks. He was wearing a white/ light coloured shirt, dark pants, and a camouflage cap
3    5’9”- 5’10” in height, wearing dark clothing, a yellow/ orange hard hat and spoke with a Jamaican accent.

Anyone who has any information regarding the robbery should contact George Town police station on 949-4222, the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477(TIPS).

This is the second bank robbery of this year. Scotia Bank in George Town was robbed on 3 May. Four men have since been charged for that crime and have made appearances in court. 

CNB robbers get away v

Thursday’s robbery suspects making their escape along the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. – Photo: Submitted
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9 COMMENTS

  1. Wait, so some random person was able to get the photo of the suspects fleeing the scene and the (ahem, haha) security guards AND armoured car officers at CNB were doing what exactly?

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  2. Simply amazing. It took 16 minutes for a response to a bank robbery. In a place the size of Cayman,one would have to ask if the officers are walking or on horseback. Even if they were on horseback, they would be there in less than 16 minutes. Sure they took action by setting up roadblocks and the like. Basically this police force wouldnt catch a cold.

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  3. Thank heavens for the eyewitness who sprung into action… it didn’t seem like anyone else did much at all. If it hadn’t been for him people would have been left scratching their heads in amazement. Do the police drive in the opposite direction when they get an emergency call? What are the security guards there for? If they don’t deter robbers why bother having them?

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  4. I’m the person who followed the assailants and took the photo yesterday. There have been a lot of comments regarding the amount of time the police took to respond…I’d like to mention that the police car I flagged down was speeding to the area with his lights on about 3 minutes after the robbery took place.

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  5. Two comments:
    1) I find it so darn funny these yahoo’s run into an armored car trying to flee the scene.
    2) Shouldn’t high profile places like a bank install a double set of doors that could effectively be used to trap the robbers on their exit.
    It would make for good YouTube viewing watching them try to shoot out the bulletproof glass and have all those shotgun shell pellets ricochet around the place. And better yet if one of these cretins dies they just might qualify for a Darwin award.

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  6. Here we go again! What purpose so called security guards serve? They are powerless to thwart holdups. They should be referred to as greeters instead. They don’t have even a night stick much less a service revolver.

    The bank, like other businesses, make it all too easy for this type of crime to continue and who knows this better than the perpetrators. I’m no security expert but commonsense dictates that using dye packs where counterfeit money is kept by the teller and given to the robber can be effective. While he is making his escape the dye pack will explode and rest is history. Also, another deterrent is the double door concept which will trap the crooks on their way out.

    Implementing strong measures to make it harder for criminals to be successful at their game is one of the best ways to reduce crime. Doing nothing is the exact opposite.

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  7. Danny

    Can I add a few comments to yours, with your permission…please.

    I do know a bit about security and the laws regarding private security in both Cayman and the UK; these laws are totally relevant to the situation and incident you’re commenting on.

    First of all, you cannot blame the banks or security companies for having unarmed guards on location…that area of security is totally out of their control and governed by the existing laws in both countries.

    In the UK, the private security industry and laws are regulated by a body known as the Security Industry Authority (the SIA) and the respective police forces in the areas in which services are provided;in Cayman, private security is totally regulated by a law administered by the RCIPS, the provisions in both laws being quite similar and administered similarly by the police forces of both Cayman and the UK.

    Those laws, as administered, not necessarily written, forbid the use of firearms or other security weapons in both Cayman and the UK; the resriction on firearms being more detrimental to Cayman because guns are used in robberies at a higher rate of frequency in Cayman than in the UK.

    In this case, both location and security personnell are at a higher risk of danger in robberies in Cayman by not having appropriate means of detterent and response; you cannot fight a gunman with a baton, peppper spray or any non-lethal weapon, only a firearm is adequate and appropriate response against an attack involving use of a firearm.

    In that respect, your questions should be targeted at the lawmakers and the police who administer these laws on private security, not the banks.

    Where your questions can be levelled at the banks, with every justification is in the areas that you have mentioned; security measures and procedures on location, bullet-proof glassed counters and security doors being the main ones as standard procedure.

    In the UK and USA, this is standard premises security at most commercial banks, especially in metropolitan city areas that are prime targets for bank robberies.

    You must ask why, with the track record that Cayman is now rapidly acquiring on armed bank robberies, are your police force and banks leaving your bank customers, employees and security guards…along with their money…

    As wide-open, sitting-duck targets for gun-using bank robbers.

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