Crime — 17 January 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego
Mother and daughter held up and robbed in their home

Robbers captured and loot recovered

Four persons of Orange Walk were released on bail yesterday by the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court after being charged with robbery, aggravated burglary, wounding, and taking a conveyance without authority.

Ronald Bruhier, 21, of San Jose Nuevo Palmar, Orange Walk District, and one minor, 17, of Savannah Street, were offered bail of $2,000, while Anthony George Tillett, 19, of Juventud Street and another minor, 14, were charged with the same offences, but were additionally charged with harm. They were offered bail of $5,000. They were all ordered to return to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, March 5.

Tillett was arrested at his home on Tuesday after he escaped from police Saturday morning.

Police said that the four persons were the thieves that went to the home of Elisa Maria Artiga and her daughter Elizabeth Artiga in Orange Walk Town at about 10:00 Friday night, held them up and kept them prisoner in their home for about two hours while they robbed both women of over $800 in cash, along with jewelry and other valuables.

The thieves then stole the Artigas’ vehicle and escaped.

Police, who were alerted by neighbors, responded quickly and captured the men in the stolen vehicle when the vehicle bogged in a muddy portion of the road not far from Artiga’s house. Some of the stolen items were recovered in the car with the three men, while Tillett escaped.

Elizabeth Artiga told police that she and her mother had just arrived home and were getting out of their vehicle, when four armed, masked men came out of the shadows, held them up and forced them into their house. One of the thieves pushed her down to the ground and put his foot on her head.

Another robber placed a gun at the head of her mother, but her mother shoved away the gun, and was able to smash it to pieces because it was a toy gun. There was a struggle between them and the robber reportedly punched her mother in the face. They then forced them into her mother’s room, where they were made to lie down on the bed and cover with a sheet. They were then forced to indicate the whereabouts of their money and valuables.

Elizabeth reported that she told them that the money was in her purse, but when the thieves got the purse they were not satisfied with the amount of money that was in it, which was about $500, and demanded more. They then demanded and got the key for the car and the women’s store, Elisa’s Mini Shop, located on Boundary Road.

Two bandits remained with Elizabeth and her mother, while the next two took their car and went to the store, from where they stole three hundred dollars that was in the cash drawer, along with an assortment of jewelry, cell phones and wristwatches.

In an interview with Channel 7, Elizabeth said that she and her mother were held hostage in her mother’s bedroom on the bed for about two hours by the two bandits who were left to watch them. The men did not harm them, and they all just sat in silence.

When the two robbers returned from looting their store in their vehicle, the two who were watching over Elizabeth and her mother left the room, and the women heard their vehicle being driven away.

It was at this time that police, after receiving a report of the robbery, responded and found the stolen car in a pothole that was soft and muddy.

When Tillett and one of the minors, 14, were taken to court yesterday, both pleaded guilty to the offences with which they were charged, and Magistrate Marlene Moody adjourned sentencing for March 5, 2014. Tillett and the minor were not remanded to prison. Instead, both of them were offered bail of $5,000 plus one surety of the same amount, which they met.

Bruhier and the 17-year-old youth were charged for aggravated burglary, wounding, and taking a conveyance without authority. They are also believed to have conspired to commit the crime and were offered bail in the sum of $2,000 and a surety of the same amount, which they met. They were also ordered to return to court on March 5, 2014.

None of the four persons were remanded to prison, because minors were involved, and all were able to meet the bail which they were granted.

Maria Artiga was taken to a doctor at the Northern Regional Hospital in Orange Walk Town, who classified the injury she suffered, after being punched by the robber believed to be Tillett, as harm.

The Orange Walk police received three awards in 2013 for being the best crime-fighting unit in the country.

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