Police mishandle burglary call; one in custody

Burglary, attack highlight North Side safety concerns

A police employee apparently ignored a call reporting a burglary in North Side over the weekend, leading to an internal review of what was described as a “complete failure” by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service in its initial response to the crime.

Police said Monday a person who was assisting officers with the burglary investigation was in custody.

Early Saturday, two burglars broke into a Rum Point Drive home, taking clothes and electronics from a 12-year-old boy’s bedroom before being chased from the home by the child’s father.

The homeowner, Jon Guelzow, who vacations in the Cayman Islands every year, said his North Side property has been burgled before, but never while members of his family or other visitors using the property were inside.

Mr. Guelzow’s wife, Kim Willoughby, told the Cayman Compass that when her husband initially phoned police he was told that “nothing could be done” about the break-in, and that police did not interview the Colorado, USA, resident about the crime until more than 12 hours later. “He was apologized to and told it was too bad he did not club the robbers over the head,” she said.

For his part, Mr. Guelzow said, after the initial lag in response, police efforts in solving the crime were very thorough and professional. He said Sunday that he did not wish to raise any issues about how police had dealt with the matter.

The RCIPS identified why there had been a significant delay in its officers responding to the crime report. Mr. Guelzow, who reported the break-in early Saturday, called the main number at the George Town Police Station, rather than the 911 Emergency Centre. The person who answered the phone at the police station stated that “a police car was not available” and did not log the call into the police system and alert 911 as required, a statement from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service noted.

Police Commissioner David Baines personally apologized to Mr. Guelzow over the weekend and said an inquiry would be made into why the failure to forward his information to 911 had occurred.

According to the police statement: “The matter is all the more disappointing as officers were in the North Side area at the time and had stopped, and were dealing with, suspicious individuals, oblivious to the call made by the home owner.”

Police said as a result of that traffic stop early Saturday, information was obtained that led to the detention of the individual who is in custody.

“The RCIPS regrets any failure by its members to respond appropriately to calls from the public for assistance,” the RCIPS statement noted.

Earlier robbery, assault

Mr. Guelzow’s neighbor, a 77-year-old Kentucky man, was punched in the face during a Jan. 11 robbery. According to reports, the elderly visitor was sitting on the back deck with his 76-year-old wife and another woman, 61, when they were confronted. The suspects took cash, jewelry, some electronic devices and a watch. The elderly man had to be hospitalized.

One suspect, David McLaughlin Martinez, has been arrested and charged in the January attack. Police said this month that they are looking into the possibility that another person was involved in the robbery.

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.

More police for North Side

Legislative Assembly members for Grand Cayman’s less-populous districts have complained in recent years about a perceived lack of police presence in East End, North Side and Bodden Town, although recent police statistics have shown that those districts do not receive nearly as many calls for service as George Town and West Bay.

Staffing levels at the Bodden Town station were boosted after RCIPS Chief Inspector Brad Ebanks revealed during a meeting in 2014 that only five police officers were available to cover any one shift at the station.

According to RCIPS records, police officers deal with nearly 10 times as much crime in George Town as in either North Side or East End. There is also substantially more crime reported in West Bay than in Bodden Town, East End and North Side combined, statistics show.

In a 2014 budget debate over police resources, legislators for the two smaller districts suggested their areas were urgently in need of additional resources to fight rising crime.

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller proposed adding around $1.3 million to the police budget to pay for new officers, including six specifically to cover East End and North Side. The motion was rejected.


  1. The Compass and the reporter who has been working the Rum Point burglary needs to have all the information when reporting on the increase in crime in the Rum Point area. In fact there have been at least six occasions in the last 4 months when a person or persons have entered properties in this area while there were occupants asleep at the property. The most resent 0ccurance seems to be of a similar nature. Even though one suspect has been detained these activities have not stopped.
    I feel some additional investigation will add a great deal of body to the full report on the situation.
    I am also personally aware the RCIPS has continued to beef up their effort to put an end to this, but to date have had no success. One of the wonderful things about the Rum Point area and the Cayman Islands has been the feeling of safety and freedom I have always felt, until this year, during the past 47 years of visiting.

  2. He was apologized to and told it was too bad he did not club the robbers over the head,”

    Not sure of the facts on this, but it does make me curious. So I have to ask if I wake up and find someone in my house is it not legal in Cayman to protect yourself during a home invasion. And are there any limits to what you can do to protect yourself and your family. For instance if you catch someone in your house and break their leg with baseball bat will you get arrested ?

  3. I understand that Cayman has a very good 911 system , but I don’t understand why one can still call directly to the police station and talk to someone who is not responsible in an emergency , when the 911 opperator is supposed to know who to send to the emergency location , that could save lives and confusion, and maybe stop some crimes.

    I think that if all emergency calls were directed through the 911 system it would be more affective in emergency situations .
    Michael Davis your question about using the baseball bat to break intruder legs , would be a good question to ask Ezzard Miller to work on in the LA .

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