Headline — 13 May 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego
Belmopan “facey thief” shot by police

He allegedly stole clothes from a store, then hopped across to the bank and stole $6,500

A robber armed with a machete who allegedly committed two bare-faced robberies – stealing $6,500 from Scotia Bank and an assortment of clothing valued at $210 from a store – is alive but suffering with two gunshot wounds after he was shot by a policeman at about 11:30 Friday morning on Slim Lane, and has been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in a critical condition.

According to police, a bank teller at the Belmopan branch of Scotia Bank, reported that on Friday, at about 10:00 in the morning, while a customer was making a deposit in cash and cheques, a tall, dark-complexioned man, later identified as Canon Augustine Obispo, 25, of Teakettle, Cayo District, walked up to her booth, grabbed $6,500 that was in the wicket from the depositor, and ran out of the bank.

Police said that Obispo had stolen $210 worth of clothes from Classic Clothing Store in Belmopan just a short time before he went to the Scotia Bank and committed the robbery.

On rushing out of the bank with the stolen money, said police, Obispo was confronted by a worker of the Classic Clothing Store, who had been lay-waiting him outside the bank to get paid for the clothes he had stolen from the store.

Instead of paying for the clothes, however, Obispo took out a machete from his pants and attempted to chop the worker, who backed away, and he (Obispo) ran away, but at the same time, a policeman who was in the area and saw what was happening ran after the escaping thief.

The worker told police that Obispo went to the clothing store and asked to try on some new clothes, which were an undershirt, a dress shirt, a pair of pants, a pair of socks, and a pair of tennis shoes. The store worker said that when he asked for and demanded payment, Obispo just walked out of the store without paying, and headed over to the Scotia Bank across the road, and so he followed him and waited outside, believing that Obispo had gone into the bank to withdraw money to pay for the clothes.

Obispo, said bank officials, joined the line as per normal, like any customer, and when he was nearing the front, he walked up to the counter while another customer was making a cash deposit, grabbed a bundle of money and ran out of the bank.

Police say that this was when a police officer who was in the vicinity responded and set chase after the thief, catching up with him on Slim Lane. The thief was ordered to stop, but he then took out a machete and advanced towards the officer, who, according to the report, drew his service weapon and fired at the thief, catching him in the left leg.

Incredibly, this did not stop Obispo from advancing toward the policeman. As the policeman was backing away from him, he (the policeman) fell down, and Obispo reportedly then attacked him on the ground. A struggle ensued between them, during which the thief bit the officer on the neck, and while they were struggling, the officer fired a shot into Obispo’s abdomen to subdue him, says police.

The wound subdued Obispo and they were both taken to the Belmopan Hospital for treatment. Obispo was transported to the KHMH for further treatment, and the officer was issued with a pair of medico-legal forms.

Police recovered $5,500 from the pocket of Obispo’s pants – $1,000 less than what he had taken from the bank. Police say that they are now investigating to recover the missing $1,000.

Police said that this is not the first time Obispo has faced serious charges. In July 2013, he walked away from a rape charge in which he was accused of raping a woman, 62, in front of her husband in the Freetown Sibun area of Hattieville.

The woman and her husband had been tied up and beaten, and their house ransacked in October 2009. About $28,000 worth of their possessions had also been stolen.

In the Supreme Court Trial, the case against him ended in a nolle prosequi, because the woman and her husband were in Canada and were not able to come to Belize for the trial.

However the judge told Obispo that if the prosecution could get the witnesses to court to testify, the charges of aggravated burglary and rape could be brought back against him.

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