An employee at Mitzi’s Fine Jewelry store described in Grand Court how she was tied up with duct tape and threatened with a gun during a robbery at the shop in November 2015.
The witness was giving evidence in the case against Madeinys Ebanks-Pol and Adrian Adela Gea, who are charged with robbing the West Bay Road store of more than half a million dollars worth of jewelry on Nov. 18, 2015. Both have pleaded not guilty to robbery. Mr. Gea has also pleaded not guilty to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offense.
The witness said she had been employed by the store owner, Mitzi Callan, for two to three months before the robbery, and had known Ms. Ebanks-Pol, a former employee, before she had been dismissed.
She told the court that on Nov. 18, 2015, at approximately 10:45 a.m., a man, whom she assumed was a customer, entered the store. She described him as “a little darker” than herself and wearing all black clothing and a “tam” – a crocheted cap.
The witness said she heard the man say, “This is a hold-up,” and, upon looking up, she saw that he was now wearing a balaclava-like mask over his face. She said that the man had a handgun, but she was unable to recall any details about the make or model of the weapon.
She said the man put the gun to her back and asked her if she had kids, saying that if she ever wanted to see them again, she was to do as she was told. The witness said the man tied her up with duct tape.
At some point during the robbery, customers entered the store and she was forced to go and “get rid of them” by the man. During this time, a woman wearing sunglasses entered the store and enquired about the whereabouts of Ms. Callan, who was not on the premises at this time. The witness was able to positively identify Ms. Ebanks-Pol as that woman, who then left the store after learning Ms. Callan was not there.
After the customers left, the gunman tied the witness up again and moved her to a different area of the store while he made multiple calls. She said she could hear voices but was not able to make out the words being said on either end of the phone.
The court then heard that the man proceeded to smash the glass cabinets and display stands with a crowbar that was in the building before taking the jewelry and putting it into a backpack that he had brought with him.
The witness recalled seeing a light blue car outside the building, which she said she recognized as Ms. Ebanks-Pol’s rental vehicle. This car was later identified as a Chevrolet by the police helicopter as it was seen being driven at a high speed along the Esterley Tibbetts Highway toward West Bay. When the vehicle was stopped by armed police, Mr. Gea was the sole occupant.
Ms. Callan returned to the jewelry shop approximately 10 minutes after the man left the store and immediately called the police.
The judge-alone trial, which is being heard by Justice Stephen Hellman, continues.