Gunman holds up George Town waterfront restaurant
Another eatery in George Town’s waterfront district was held up by a gunman Monday who police said took money and property from tourists.
Royal Cayman Islands Police said a man carrying a handgun robbed the Paradise Restaurant on South Church Street at around 10:50 p.m. Monday.
During the heist, the suspect took a phone and a wallet from two tourists and a “very small amount of cash” from a waiter, according to Gary Bodden, owner of the restaurant.
Mr. Bodden said the tourists had been on the island for a week and were leaving Tuesday. “They were very shaken up,” he said.
Three hours after the restaurant robbery, police said a man grabbed a handbag from a George Town woman walking along West Bay Road near another popular tourist destination, the Seven Mile Shops,
The bag-snatching occurred around 2 a.m. Police said the man did not use a weapon and the woman suffered minor injuries.
Officers did not state whether they believed the two incidents were linked.
The hold-up at Paradise Restaurant was just the latest in a string of recent robberies that have plagued high-profile tourist locations in George Town.
Two of the three robberies that occurred at tourist hot spots in mid-October involved popular restaurants, one on the George Town waterfront, another along the southern end of Seven Mile Beach.
Coconut Joe’s, located across the street from the Comfort Suites and Marriott Beach Resort, is one of the longest-serving eateries in the area.
Eight customers and four staff members were held up by two gunmen during the Coconut Joe’s robbery at 11;38 p.m. on Oct. 16. Two men with shirts covering their heads and carrying “dark hand guns” entered through the rear of the business on West Bay Road. The men went through the kitchen and appeared out front demanding cash from the employee working the register. Police said the suspects then threatened customers with the weapons.
On Oct. 12, a man walking along the street on West Bay Road was held up by a machete-wielding man near Andy’s rent-a-car. That robbery also happened just before midnight. The Andy’s location is within walking distance of the Seven Mile Shops, where Tuesday morning’s handbag robbery occurred.
The next night, Oct, 13, Da Fish Shack restaurant on North Church Street was robbed by armed men. A customer was also robbed in that incident which occurred at 10:56 p.m.
RCIPS Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay said that police have decided to investigate the recent robberies in concert with one another, rather than individually, and that all information in the cases is being routed through a “major incident room.”
“We have started to see the trend that not only was the premises being targeted, but also staff and patrons at outside bars at very popular locations,” said RCIPS Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay.
The heist at Paradise Restaurant Monday night fit a similar profile as the Coconut Joe’s and Da Fish Shack cases.
“It’s difficult at the moment to say whether it’s the same two individuals [involved in the incidents at Da Fish Shack and Coconut Joe’s] … certainly the modus operandi is similar,” Mr. Kay said. “We don’t feel necessarily that it’s the same two people committing all these robberies.”