A gunman struck a restaurant staff member on the head with a pistol Tuesday night in the fifth armed robbery to occur on Grand Cayman in the past week, leading to a search for a suspect that closed down a section of road in the island’s busy West Bay Road tourism district.
Police searches Tuesday night turned up a firearm believed to have been used in the robbery at the Captain’s Bakery and Grill and a 17-year-old male was arrested in connection with the incident.
Police said the robbery was reported around 9 p.m. when a man with a handgun entered the business, demanded cash and hit an employee on the head with the weapon.
The assault victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.
A lengthy search of the West Bay Road area, between the intersection of Eastern Avenue at the southern end of the road and Queens Court to the north, was conducted by police in the hours after the robbery.
According to witnesses at The Wharf Restaurant, which was located within the search area, a suspect was holed up in a nearby dwelling. The restaurant was placed on lockdown for a brief period during the incident. A number of people were trying to access the area to get to either the nearby KFC restaurant or to The Wharf for its popular Tuesday “Salsa night” event.
“No salsa tonight,” said the constable controlling traffic at the southern end of the barricade.
At 10 p.m., a man and his three daughters left The Wharf and quickly walked toward the police barricade.
“I’m just trying to keep my daughters safe,” the father said as his family packed into a taxi at the Esso gas station.
Tuesday evening’s incident at Captain’s Bakery was preceded by four other armed robberies since Thursday night, July 5.
The first robbery occurred last Thursday night at the Al La Kebab food truck in Red Bay. Armed men took cash and an employee’s handbag at the location on Selkirk Drive before two shots were fired.
A man was robbed along the northern end of West Bay Road early Saturday morning after being beaten and stabbed. Police said the victim’s backpack was stolen, but later recovered.
Two armed robberies occurred Saturday night, one involving four suspects that hit the Al La Kebab eatery on Lawrence Boulevard and another at the George Town bus terminal where a driver was held up.
Firearms were used in four of the five robbery incidents. No arrests were reported in the cases between Thursday and Saturday night.
“We understand the fear and concern of the public after several robberies on the island,” Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said Wednesday, “We have intensified our anti-robbery uniform and armed officer patrols since last Thursday.
“These patrols were manifest last night, when a coordinated response of officers resulted in a quick arrest and recovery of a gun.”
Mr. Byrne said police were looking into the possibility that some of the robberies could involve the same suspects.
“Investigations are under way to determine if these incidents are linked, and our increased patrols will continue until we have apprehended others responsible and removed the threats they pose to individuals and businesses,” he said.
Police Superintendent Brad Ebanks said local businesses should contact their community policing officers if they need further assistance.
“Extra precautions should also be taken around the handling of cash,” Mr. Ebanks said. “Community officers are ready to meet with anyone interested in obtaining further robbery prevention advice.”