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.