Eight robberies or attempts reported since Aug. 29
Update: Add another armed robbery to the tally, as a central George Town pizza delivery shop was hit by two suspects Wednesday night.
According to the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, at 10:29 p.m. police received a report of a robbery at Domino’s Pizza, Midtown Plaza on Elgin Ave.
Officers reported that two masked male suspects entered the business armed with what appeared to be two handguns, held up the occupants and fled. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.
Two men, aged 28 and 29 years, were arrested in connection with the robbery within an hour of the incident.
Initial story:Concerned lawmakers huddled with Royal Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines on Tuesday over a spate of violent crimes – including eight armed robberies or attempted robberies – that have been reported in Grand Cayman since Aug. 29.
The eight holdups include an Aug. 29 robbery at Treasure Island resort; a Sept. 7 incident outside a home in Breakers where a local businessman was attacked and shot in the arm; a reported Sept. 20 robbery of a couple at Smith Cove beach; a Sept. 23 broad daylight robbery at Chisholm’s market in North Side; a Sept. 28 robbery at a West Bay minimart where a young boy was injured by debris from a shot being fired; and a bar and a video store robbery that both occurred during the overnight period of Sept. 30 to Oct. 1; and the latest occurring at Brown’s Esso in George Town Tuesday night.
The robbery incidents do not include two shootings that occurred on Sept. 15 within an hour of each other, for which robbery did not appear to be the motive. A 52-year-old West Bay man, Irvin Garlon Bush, was killed in one attack that night, while a woman in Lower Valley managed to avoid a shot fired at her by running inside her Shamrock Road home.
Seven of the eight reported robberies or attempted robberies since Aug. 29 have involved either a business premises or a business proprietor. Firearms were used in all 10 instances.
According to sources who spoke with the Caymanian Compass, RCIPS Commissioner Baines met with Cayman Islands Cabinet members Tuesday to discuss key ways police can assist business owners.
Some anti-crime strategies were expected to be discussed with local business owners during a meeting at the Westin resort scheduled for Thursday.
Premier Alden McLaughlin, whose Home Affairs Ministry oversees the budget for the police service, said there was no need to hit the panic button over the recent crime wave, which police intelligence sources indicated was being carried out by a relatively small number of perpetrators.
“If I were not … reasonably satisfied that all efforts are being made to dial back this, what appears to be a growing crime wave, I’d be a very unhappy camper,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “But based on what we’ve been told … police are taking the right steps to bring this under control.
“This is not random in the sense that people may believe … there aren’t a huge number of people that are doing these things.”
Ministry chief officer Eric Bush indicated most of the robberies would not be considered “opportunistic crimes” and instead involved certain specific businesses being targeted by robbers.
“Particularly with the robbery in North Side … there was a premediation. There was a planning around … is this an easy target? The message to the business community and private citizen alike is don’t make yourself an easy target.”
However, Premier McLaughlin indicated during a luncheon meeting with Chamber of Commerce members last week that the crime issue was a major concern and that his administration would take a keen interest in stamping it out.
“Although the use of guns to commit crimes is becoming far too common … we cannot and must not concede that this is an inevitable by-product of progress in a growing nation,” the premier said.
“In fairness to the police, and enough is not being made of this, they have had some significant success over the last few weeks. Where we aren’t being as successful as we’d like to be is in preventing these things from happening.”
At press time, most of the robbery investigations had not led to arrests. However, police did manage to make a dramatic arrest on Sept. 23 following the armed robbery of Chisholm’s market about 20 minutes after the heist through the use of the surveillance capabilities of the RCIPS helicopter.
A 21-year-old man was arrested in George Town on Sunday after apparently trying to ditch a handgun while fleeing from police. It was unknown if that arrest had anything to do with the recent spate of robberies.
In addition, arrests were made in both of the shootings that occurred on Sept. 15. A total of three people were taken into custody in relation to the shootings, including two in connection with Irvin Bush’s killing.
Aside from Treasure Island, which is a major resort and rental property, the other robberies all occurred at small businesses or targeted small business owners.
The one possible exception was the Sept. 20 attack on two local residents at Smith Cove where the couple involved said they were robbed by two masked men, one of whom held a handgun.
According to a statement from police: “Despite numerous attempts and arrangements made with the couple to provide formal statements to our officers they have not yet provided those statements to our officers. Enquiries into the incident continue.”