Crime — 22 October 2013 — by Albert J. Ciego

Three men from Corozal have been remanded to the Belize Central Prison on charges of robbery, possession of stolen goods, aggravated assault, possession of prohibited firearm and keeping ammunition without a gun license.

Corozal Police charged that Keith Bennett, 23, of Vivas Layout, Corozal; Yasmin Monima, 18, of Port Saul area, Corozal Town; and a minor, 16, also of Vivas Layout, were the three robbers who went into a Chinese store in Cristo Rey, Corozal, at about 2:30 Thursday afternoon, pistol-whipped the head of the storeowner, then stole over $2,000 in cash and goods, before escaping.

Police, who responded quickly to reports of the crime, said that they captured Keith Bennett, who was armed with a pistol, in the area. Bennett then led them to an area in a cane field in the Patchakan area, where he handed over a sawed-off shotgun, which was identified as one of the guns used during the robbery. The other men were also captured on the Patchakan Road.

The trio was taken to the Corozal Magistrate’s Court today, Friday, where they appeared before Magistrate Hurl Hamilton, who remanded them until January 9 next year, when they will be returned to court.

The Chinese storeowner, Yan Fei Zhen, 39, of Cristo Rey, told police that he was in his store on Thursday when about 2:30 that afternoon, a man entered the store, went to the cooler, and took out a Belikin Stout. He walked to the counter as if to pay for the drink, but then, he put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a pistol, which he pointed at him and declared that he wanted $10,000.

Zhen reported that the robber then walked up to him and hit him with the pistol on the side of the face twice.

Two men who were wearing rags on their faces then rushed into the store. One of them pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him, so he then had two guns pointed at him.

The third man began taking all the money that was in Zhen’s cash drawer, and stole other items as well. The three robbers then walked out of the store with $1,800 in cash, three cell phones, a monitor and the CPU for the video surveillance camera system, and a laptop. The total value of items stolen is estimated at over $2,000.

Villagers of the area who saw what was happening quickly called the police, and told them that the men ran towards the Cristo Rey main road, and from there, rode on separate bicycles in the direction of Patchakan.

Police responded quickly and captured the three men in the Patchakan Road area.

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