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Robbers, posing as cops, on the prowl

HATTIEVILLE, Belize District, Tues. Aug. 18, 2015–Three thieves pretending to be police officers went into the home of a couple on the Hattieville/Boom Road, in Hattieville, where they beat the wife and robbed the couple, getting away with about $600.

       Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, Commanding Officer of Belize Rural Police, reported that at about 10:00 last night, three men dressed in camouflage went to the home of Irma Ortiz, 58, and Augustine Ramos, 62, and knocked on their door.

       Ramos opened their door because they saw that the men were wearing camouflage and thought that they were police officers. The three men then rushed into the house, held them up and stole about six hundred dollars.

        Ramos managed to escape the house and went to his neighbor and called police.

       The Rural Rapid Response Team arrived there and they were shown the direction in which the three robbers escaped. Police, along with some civilians and ex-BDF soldiers, chased the thieves, but to no avail – they had already escaped.

         Police went back into the area and found a trail that led to a trailer park, and there, they found two shirts and a bloody rag.

        Police are now seeking public assistance in capturing these men. One of them is injured, and members of the public are urged to call the police if they are seen.

         In reporting the event, Ramos, a farmer, said that he and his common-law wife were at home. He was watching television in the living room and his wife was in bed, also watching television. He heard a thumping sound coming from the back door, and got up to see what was happening. He then noticed that his back door was damaged, and he went back to the living room to get a machete he had in the area. He said he went back to the back door and placed the machete by the door and put on the light, and that was when he heard a man say, “Police!”

       Ramos then opened the back door to see what was happening and saw a man who was wearing police/military camouflage clothes, but who was also wearing a ski mask on his face.

       Ramos said that he then saw two more men, also dressed in camouflage, wearing masks on their faces, hiding behind the door outside, and one of them said, “Police! You are surrounded; you are under arrest.”

       According to Ramos, as he was about to get the machete from behind the door, one of the bandits attacked him and forced him outside, while the other robber demanded money.

       Ramos reported that one of the bandits picked up a concrete block from near the back door and threw it at him, but he ducked and the cement block hit the thief’s partner, who was close to him. Ramos said that he managed to escape from them and ran to his neighbor for help.

        Irma Ortiz, a domestic, Ramos’common-law wife, reported that the men then entered the home, and when she told them that she did not have money, one of the men hit her in the head with a galvanized pipe, and another one hit her in the face.

       The men then began to ransack the house, and hit her again. Fearing that they were going to kill her, she handed over $600 in cash, and the robbers fled the house.

       Ramos and Ortiz said that they have been living in their house in Hattieville for over 15 years, and this is the first time they have been robbed and their house invaded.

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