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Two robbers killed in botched attack on PanAmerican van

page1a120~ Robber fired first shot ~

 

CAY HILL--Two men who are said to have had a long history of brushes with the law were fatally shot when they ambushed a PanAmerican Protective Service money transport service van in Cay Hill early Tuesday morning.

Police spokesperson Chief Inspector Ricardo Henson told The Daily Herald that a third suspect, the getaway driver, had managed to escape in a heavily-tinted unidentified red vehicle.page5a120

A PanAmerican security official who flew in to the island immediately after the incident said the PanAmerican van had just driven out of the Executive Commercial Centre premises around 8:00am. The guard had closed the gate and was about to enter the money transfer vehicle when the robbers ran up to the truck in an ambush.

The armed, masked and gloved robbers were had been hiding in nearby bushes, which were blocked by a concrete wall, waiting for a time to ambush the guards. One of the armed bandits who were running toward the truck shot at the guard who was about to enter the truck, hitting him in the upper thigh, and proceeded to try to enter the PanAmerican van.

page5c120The trained PanAmerican officers responded quickly to stop the ambush, which resulted in the two robbers being fatally shot.

The PanAmerican security official said the incident had been a shock and a surprise to the workers who were about to start their day. One PanAmerican official said he had been on his way to work when he received a call that the company had been under attack. When he arrived on the scene the gruesome reality of the botched attack was clear.

When The Daily Herald arrived on the scene, the two bandits were still lying on the ground where they had fallen after being shot. One of the robbers had a gun still clutched in his hands. Both robbers had on long-sleeved hooded jackets with masks; both were wearing gloves. One of them was wearing a pair of blue medical surgical gloves. The mother of one of the bandit’s children reportedly works at a medical facility in Cay Hill.

The PanAmerican guard who was shot in the upper thigh was treated on the scene and transported to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), where he received further medical attention and then was released. His injury was not life-threatening.

PanAmerican commended the police for their quick response to the incident.

 

History of crime

Henson said police were aware of the two deceased robbers’ identities. He said they were “known” to authorities.

This newspaper understands that one of the deceased robbers, E.R., known by the alias “Salty,” from the group known as the Scary Movie gang, had been incarcerated for more than a decade for a number of serious robberies.

He was released from prison some months ago and allegedly was arrested for the Scotiabank robbery last year, but was released. He also was said to have been involved in several other bank robberies on the island.

The second deceased bandit is said to be known as “Denzel,” is believed to have been residing in the Cay Hill area and was said also to have had brushes with the law.

  Henson said authorities were still gathering information and interviewing persons about the incident, which he said was unfortunate.

The PanAmerican security official said the police had taken the company’s security tapes for review.

 

‘Doing our jobs’

The company’s security official said he wanted the public to know that the guards had been doing their job.

“We are doing a service for our client in the best secure way, but if you come to try to take things from us that belong to our clients, we have to protect it and protect ourselves as the laws says we should,” he said.

He said the guards who work with the company are hardworking citizens of the community who have families just like the robbers, but they go out and do an honest day’s work every day. They love their jobs and they execute them to the best of their abilities.

“We have to do our jobs and we were doing our jobs. We love the community, but we are able to and it’s part of our duty to defend ourselves,” he said.

This was the second time an attempt had been made to rob PanAmerican Protective Service in Dutch St. Maarten. The last time was 20 years ago and it was a minor incident. There also was an attempt to rob a PanAmerican Service in French St. Martin some 15 years ago.

The security official said that in light of this incident, the company’s guards would remain firm in an effort to be more secure in the execution of their duties in the future. He urged the public to cooperate, and when PanAmerican guards are at a location and ask them to kindly step aside, “This is for their own safety.” He said on many occasions when the guards are at a location and ask members of the public to wait for brief moments, many did not respond.

A psychologist will be having sessions with the PanAmerican guards who were directly involved in the incident as well as the entire staff today, Wednesday.

The company urges anyone with information on the third robber to share this information with police so that this case can be solved quickly.

 

Still safe

Chief Inspector Henson said that while some persons were questioning whether the country was a safe place because of these violent crimes, St. Maarten was still a very safe place. He said it was unfortunate that an incident like this could put St. Maarten in “a very bad” light.

He said violent incidents like the one on Tuesday were isolated and the people involved were “known” to authorities. He said persons should not be afraid, because St. Maarten is still safe.

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