General — 12 January 2016 — by Albert J. Ciego
Family car jacked at Armenia speedbump

ARMENIA VILLAGE, Fri. Jan. 8, 2016–Melonie Popper Coc, 38, of Ladyville, Belize District, and her family were robbed at gunpoint while travelling from Belmopan to Dangriga, Stann Creek, by two armed bandits, when she stopped briefly in Armenia Village to make a phone call.

The unmasked bandits stole the vehicle Popper Coc was driving – a silver blue Isuzu D-Max belonging to Puma Energy – and made off with a range of items, together valued at almost $17,000.

According to police, Popper Coc was travelling with her mother and 4 children when the incident occurred at about 7:15 Saturday night, between a vegetable stall and a bus stop near the second speed bump on the highway in Armenia.

Popper Coc had pulled over to the side of the highway and exited the vehicle to make a phone call and within about two minutes, an armed Hispanic man came up to her and took away her phone and proceeded to remove her mother and children from the vehicle. Meanwhile, a second male quickly got into the driver’s seat and both men drove off towards Belmopan.

According to police, the vehicle is valued at $12,000. Inside the vehicle Popper Coc had a purse containing $1,400 in cash; a white Blackberry phone valued at $1,200, with calling number 610-1838, registered to Puma Energy; 2 Samsung Galaxy Tab 4’s, each valued at $525; 1 navy blue Blu phone with calling number 631-9000, valued at $700; assorted cards, clothing, shoes, and other personal items, valued at $500— amounting to a total loss of $16,850 for Popper Coc.

Police say that their investigations continue.

Popper Coc recounted her ordeal on Facebook on the page, Belize’s Buy and Sell: She said that the area where she had stopped to place the phone call was well-lit and several people were around, so she thought it was the safest place to stop.

“They were anxious to kill my family and so I had to plea for them not to kill us. All of this was happening with people from the village just standing on the sideline watching. We were robbed of all our personal belongings, including my truck. They sped off with the truck heading towards Belmopan and left us on the side of the road … not a soul came to our rescue,” she added.

Popper said that the pickup stolen from her is a 2007 silver blue, 4-door Isuzu D-Max with manual transmission and 4-wheel drive, with size 17 all-terrain tires, and bearing license plate C-43751.

Popper is seeking public assistance to recover the pickup. Anyone who sees or knows the bandits, or has information that can lead to the capture of the thieves and/or the recovery of the vehicle, is urged to contact Belmopan Police, or the nearest police station, or call 0-800-922-TIPS or 911.

“If you hear, see, know or suspect anything, please contact the police. It’s not so much the material things that matters but goodness, how safe are we in our country? Imagine you had to go through such an ordeal with people watching and no one lending a hand! Thanks,” Popper Coc said in her Facebook post.

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