BELMOPAN, Mon. Sept. 7, 2015–Slick thieves with an apparently unrelenting preference for expensive, late model Toyota Hilux pickups, carried out the most recent in a string of thefts of government vehicles by stealing a late model Toyota Hilux from the Ministry of Health in the Garden City – the seventh Hilux to be stolen in a span of two years.
The improved, high-tech security apparatus at the parking lot where the vehicle had been parked aided in the tracking of the stolen vehicle to a yard in Melchor de Mencos. Melchor police were alerted and have secured the vehicle, which will be returned to Belize shortly.
Kim Bautista, Director of Vector Control, for whose program the vehicle was obtained, told Amandala that the vehicle has not yet been returned, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is monitoring the situation, and as soon as the relevant paper works are completed, the vehicle will be returned.
The vehicle was stolen around 2:00 a.m. Friday from where it was parked on the Ministry of Health compound. Three armed, masked men held up the security guard on the compound at gunpoint, and beat and tied him up, after which they put him in the vehicle and drove away in it.
Santos Coc, a security supervisor, told Belmopan police that he was conducting routine security checks on the compound at about 4:00 Friday morning, when he saw that the security officer was absent from his post.
He searched for him on the compound, but could not find him.
Shortly after, San Ignacio police called and told the security company that the security guard had presented himself at the police station, but he was injured.
The security guard told police that he had been kidnapped by three robbers. He was released in San Ignacio, and the robbers drove the stolen vehicle across the border.
Bautista said that security has been improved since the GPS tracking systems were installed. The stolen vehicle, he said, had a tracking system, and he informed the company, which then located the vehicle in Melchor.
The GPS company remotely disabled the engine, and Belmopan police were alerted as to the whereabouts of the vehicle.
Bautista said that because the vehicle was successfully recovered, he is sure that the government will fit all of the vehicles in its fleet with a GPS tracking system.