Headline — 19 October 2012 — by Albert J. Ciego
Gunman and accomplice hold up preschool

Lawlessness and disrespect by criminals for any institution have sunk to a new level. A preschool with around 10 toddlers, ages 3 and 4, was held up by two thieves, one of whom was armed with a gun.

The thieves robbed the teacher at gunpoint in front of the babies, and got away with $5 — her lunch money, jewelry and a cell phone.

The babies were traumatized, and ran onto a bed in the classroom, and some ran under the bed to get away from the robbers.

The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. yesterday, Wednesday, at the Little Cadet and Academy Preschool located on Louise Bevans Street in the Jane Usher Boulevard area.

The teacher, 23, told Amandala that a man came up to the class door and asked for one of the kids, but as soon as she opened the door for him to come in, another man who was at the side of the building, whose face was covered with a stocking and who had a gun, rushed in and immediately grabbed her.

The gunman cocked the gun and put it at the side of her head. He then demanded money and everything that she had.

While the gunman was holding her hostage, the first bandit who asked for the child began to rob her. She said that he took off her chain from around her neck, the rings from her finger and her earrings. After robbing her, he then began to search around the class for other items to steal.

When he did not find anything more of value, he began to demand money. The teacher told them that they don’t keep money in school, that the monies are paid to the Atlantic Bank, and parents go there to pay into the account.

The thieves then searched her bag, but found nothing, and the bag was thrown into the corner. They were still demanding money, and she took out her wallet and gave them $5.00 that was in it.

The thieves then walked out of the yard.

The teacher said that during the ordeal, with the babies watching, she was thinking “survival,” and was praying that the children would not be shot or hurt, so she complied with all their demands.

The teacher said that the gunman was pressing the gun against the side of her head, after which he moved it down to her throat, and he pushed it hard against her throat.

The police had ordered that the child whom the bandits had come to ask for was to be kept at the school until they came, but the mother of the baby came and began to protest, and took home the child.

Shortly after she came and talked to the school manager, police picked up and detained two suspects. Amandala was also told that the teacher’s cell phone was found with the baby’s uncle, one of the suspects.

As a result of the incident the teacher was unable to sleep, and last night, after she complained of pain at the back of her head and neck, she was taken to the hospital, and classes were suspended until tomorrow, Friday.

The owner of the school told Amandala that she has become ill, that her blood pressure has risen and she must now take pills. She had been hospitalized at the Belize Healthcare Partners Limited last week for around three days, and had recovered, but this robbery has caused her great stress.

She said that the preschool was there to serve the community, and she even gives scholarships to children whose parents can’t afford to pay for their child to attend, and there are seven children on scholarships.

She said that the child for whom the robbers asked was one of the children on scholarship. She said that this is the first time the school has been robbed, and that they will improve on the school’s security.

She also asks that police carry out more frequent patrols in the area.

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