BULLET TREE, Cayo District, Mon. Jan. 21, 2019– Four tourists were robbed yesterday afternoon, January 20, at the El Pilar archaeological site, which is about 7 miles southwest of Bullet Tree Village. Although there were reports that the robbers were Guatemalan, police have not confirmed that.
When police arrived on the scene around 12:30 p.m., they met Teddy Waight, 39 — the tour guide who had been with the tourists when the incident occurred. Waight told them that he was conducting a tour of the Mayan site with two American and two Canadian tourists when the robbery took place.
According to him, the group went over to a shed on the compound of the site when they were approached by two Hispanic men who were armed with a shotgun and a handgun. The men robbed the group of some money and other belongings before escaping.
According to police, the men escaped down a trail that led towards the Belize/Guatemala border.
They also said that there have always been joint patrols by BDF and police personnel in that area, but police are unsure if a patrol was around at the time the robbery took place.
On September 1, 2002, several vehicles were stopped on the road between Bullet Tree and El Pilar and the occupants, both Belizeans and foreigners, were beaten and robbed by 4 assailants. The assailants tied the occupants up and searched them as well as the vehicles. Several women were reportedly raped by the men as well.
Also in 2002, a group of ten tourists and their tour guide who were visiting El Pilar were approached by 6 armed men who demanded money from them. The value of everything that was stolen was estimated to be more than $11,600.
In 2014, a group of 5 bandits who were believed to be Guatemalans robbed a couple at their place of business, which was near to El Pilar. The bandits, who were armed with rifles and handguns, got away with $1,000 and an assortment of items, including two power saws, a converter, an array of food items, 3 security cameras, and a pair of solar panels.
In 2014 as well, news reports were that tour guides were beginning to “abandon” El Pilar due to the dangers that tourists could face. Many of them were already leaving El Pilar off their itinerary, and most believed the crimes were being committed by Guatemalans, since El Pilar is so close to the border.