Four men have been convicted of robbery for their roles in Cayman’s biggest ever bank heist.
David Tamasa, Rennie Cole, George Mignott and Andre Burton were all found guilty, for the second time, of the robbery of more than half-a-million dollars in a daylight raid on Cayman National Bank in June 2012.
A group of armed, masked men burst into the bank’s Buckingham Square branch and threatened customers and staff before making off with sacks stuffed with cash.
Tamasa, who was not present during the raid, was said to be one of the chief organizers, planning the robbery and supplying the weapons.
Mignott carried a shotgun and took part in the raid. Cole was the decoy man who distracted the bank security guard while Burton was the getaway driver.
The crown’s case hinged on the evidence of Marlon Dillon, who admitted to his own role and testified against his accomplices.
The four men were originally found guilty of the robbery, along with Ryan Edwards, in April 2013.
Their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal because of a procedural irregularity in the original trial. Edwards’s conviction was upheld.
It took a new jury of eight women and four men just over seven hours to again find the men guilty of robbery and possession of firearms, following a seven-week retrial which concluded Friday. They will be sentenced on Wednesday.
Dramatic CCTV footage of the terrifying raid was shown to the jury during the course of the trial. Key witness Dillon identified Mignott as the man seen in the footage, wearing a grey hoodie and wielding a shotgun.
At one point, he is seen in the images, shared with the Cayman Compass, forcing a security guard to the floor at gunpoint and threatening a customer with the weapon.
Dillon told the court that Cole, seen on the footage chatting with the security guard, was sent in as a decoy to distract the man in the moments before his accomplices burst into the bank.
He identified himself and Edwards as the two other masked men.
Edwards, wearing a high visibility reflective vest, is seen on the footage forcing bank staff to allow him into the vaults and then later passing a black bag filled with cash to Dillon before leaping over the counter.
Footage from outside the bank showed Mignott, Dillon and Edwards jump into their vehicle and attempt to escape. But their exit route was cut off by a security van and the three men are seen running from the car and escaping on foot.
The court heard that they were then driven from the scene by Burton, who was waiting nearby in a second vehicle.
Police were able to trace that vehicle back to Dillon and he was later caught hiding under a shed at his home. Around $100,000 in cash was found nearby.
Dillon, who admitted his involvement, testified against his accomplices and assisted the Crown in another murder case, was sentenced to three years in October for his role in the robbery.
The CNB bank president, at an earlier hearing, reported that the robbery was the largest in the history of the Cayman Islands and the sum stolen accounted for one-sixth of the bank’s net profit for the year.