Burglars creep into boy’s bedroom, chased off by dad

Police tape

For the second time this year, visitors on Grand Cayman’s North Side district have been the victims of a serious crime – the latest incident being a home invasion that occurred at 2:30 a.m. Saturday – while a father and son were sleeping.

John Guelzow, of Golden, Colorado, was visiting his family’s vacation home on Rum Point Drive with his 12-year-old son for a few weeks when the break-in occurred. The family has a close connection to Cayman and has owned the property for about 15 years, Mr. Guelzow said.

“At 2:30 a.m., my bedroom door creaked open,” Mr. Guelzow said. “I got up thinking the wind blew the door open. Then I saw movement outside of my door and two men … they were coming into my bedroom.”

It appeared the two men, who he described as “large black men,” had already been in his son’s bedroom, Mr. Guelzow said. While the boy slept, they took his phone from a bedside table, a laptop computer, a stereo speaker, a Kindle, sunglasses and the boy’s clothes.

“They took all his clothes,” Mr. Guelzow said. “They stole a 12-year-old boy’s clothes.”

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The boy slept through the whole thing. He was not injured in the incident, his dad confirmed.

“I’m really grateful he didn’t wake up with someone standing over him,” Mr. Guelzow said.

When the home invasion burglars made it to Mr. Guelzow’s door, he started yelling for them to get out of his house. He said he chased the suspects through a window and “out they went.” The window, which had been left open, had its screen cut out, apparently allowing the burglars to enter.

Mr. Guelzow said there have been burglaries in the 15 years his family has owned the Rum Point Drive home, but there has never been an incident where criminal suspects entered the home when they knew it was occupied.

“That’s the difference,” he said. “In the old days, [burglaries happened] when no one was home. Now they’re coming in the house when people are home and they know it.”

The Coloradan said his family will keep the North Side property and that they have a “personal family attachment” to Cayman, so they wouldn’t consider leaving. However, they only visit for a few weeks a year and often rent the home to friends and family when they are not around.

“Now when we have friends and family over, we have to tell them it isn’t that safe,” he said.

An emphatic point was put on that statement when, about two months earlier, Mr. Guelzow’s next door neighbor – a 77-year-old Kentucky man – was punched in the face during an evening robbery on Jan. 11. The elderly visitor was sitting on the back deck with his 76-year-old wife and another woman, 61, when they were set upon. The suspects took cash, jewelry, an iPad, three cellphones and a watch. The elderly man had to be treated for injuries to his face and an eye.

One suspect has been arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

Cayman Crime Stoppers offered an $8,000 reward last week for additional information on leads resulting in arrests or the recovery of property in connection with the January crime.

Mr. Guelzow’s wife, Kim Willoughby, who was not on Grand Cayman at the time of Saturday’s burglary/home invasion, said both Royal Cayman Islands Police and North Side MLA Ezzard Miller were looking into the matter. “All in all, our neighborhood seems very alarmed and very mad,” she said.

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  1. In Bodden Town we are having the 3.0 clock bandits breaking into peoples homes and stealing cases of drinks, juice and oatmeal cookies.
    The police need to put under-cover cops on the roads around that time, in the areas of public beaches , because it seems like that is where they congregate and make preparations for late night robberies. Undercover police can learn a lot by hanging out on public beaches after 10 pm and around closing time at shops and street corners.

  2. It’s such a a shame that these folks have ruined the reputation of an entire nation. But he is right it’s just not that safe any longer. Cayman is still very safe when compared to a lot of other destinations, but it is false advertising and gives unknowing visitors and unrealistic sense of security. It’s really time to inform people that they need to watch their backs in Cayman.

    “Now when we have friends and family over, we have to tell them it isn’t that safe,” he said. what a powerful statement that’s coming from more and more people that visit these shores, unfortunately it’s true..

  3. Police around the world tend to ignore crimes like this. In the UK I understand they don’t even bother to come to your home to take a report.

    But these are crimes that we must take very seriously indeed.

    Our hotels charge a premium rate above our Caribbean competition. Partly because of the safety factor.

    If we lose that we may need to compete at the same price level as Jamaica. And provide the same barbed wire guarded enclosures for our tourists.

    Any person entering a room leaves multiple traces of DNA. Careful forensic police work can collect that and use it to trace the perpetrators.
    Then let’s give them the punishment they deserve.

  4. I wonder if planning will approve my application to install a 6 foot barbed wire fence. The last time I submitted it they said it was not necessary as a security requirement in the North Side Area. However now with brazen criminals running around breaking into people homes and beating up old men even while they sleep, I think it is a necessary evil. And I suspect that plenty of property owners will follow in my foot steps when it goes up. There are also sensors that are available for Chain Link Fences that will set you alarm off when some tries to climb or cut through it.

    Sad note that I have to admit that after all these years I actually feel that it’s less likely that my home in the US will be burgled then it is for the one in Cayman. The reason is simply because there’s no real police presence in Northside so these guys know they won’t get caught.

  5. “For the second time this year, visitors on Grand Cayman’s North Side district have been the victims of a serious crime” – FALSE – quite a bit more than twice. This is just what I know of…

    August Rum Point Rd – two units burglarized (Do not know details)
    November 26th Rum Point Rd – two units burglarized (Do not know details)
    Dec 5 Rum Point Rd – two units burglarized with tourists inside
    Dec 17 Rum Point Rd – unit burglarized and man chased out
    Jan 11 – incident at so Serene
    Feb 7 – Rum Point Rd – tourists woke up to man in room. Chased him out and around parking lot.
    Mar 11 – Rum Point Rd – unit burglarized , man spotted while trying to enter another unit.
    Mar 19 – this incident

    Other Incidents – retreat at Rum point – not sure of the date, but several months ago.
    Newlyweds in a house on north side we robbed.

    I have personally seen guest books signed with details of a robbery, online reviews on vrbo describing a robbery, have heard of 3 other homes where renters left the island early due to an incident, and had one of my renters leave after two days because they could not sleep (after hearing about an incident from another tourist).

    This is not good. We pay quite a bit to the tourism board to “keep the renters/tourists safe” by keeping smoke detectors up to date, widening bathrooms to accommodate the possibility of larger renters, adding in “safety bars” around toilets, etc. – yet this continues to happen as if welcomed. Maybe some of this money should be directed in an effort to catch these individuals.

    • Speaking of… I just received a cancellation for a stay on the 30th:
      “I need to cancel my reservation due to the recent criminal activity in that area as well as the lack of police response. I am just not comfortable staying there with my family. I am sorry, We love Northside but family safety must come first. ” After speaking with him, he told me there are threads on trip advisor he has been following plus the 14 hour response time on this “home invasion” set him over the top.

      • So sorry to hear that Ed. You can’t keep this sort of stuff quiet these days, despite much of it seeming to go unreported in the papers. The only way to resolve this issue is for good people to speak up, the bad guys need to be caught and convicted and put away for a good long time – regardless of whose ‘cousin’ they might be.