Headline — 10 July 2019 — by Albert J. Ciego
James Escarpeta, 35, shot; under police guard after Puma Buca Gas Station robbery

BELMOPAN, Mon. July 8, 2019– At about 1:00 Saturday afternoon, a robber went into the Buca Gas Station located on the Hummingbird Highway in Belmopan, pointed a gun at the cashier in the convenience store and demanded money.

The cashier told police that, fearing for her life, she handed over money that was in a drawer in the store to him. The thief then ran out of the store and pointed his gun at two gas attendants and demanded money from them, and they gave him the money in their possession, fearing that he would shoot them.

After robbing the gas station and getting away with about $1,500, the thief tried to stop two different vehicles to get away in, but the vehicles did not stop, and the bandit fired at one of the vehicles.

He then ran into a road near the gas station to escape, but a man in a vehicle drove onto the road in pursuit of the bandit and knocked him down. He then got out of the vehicle and tackled the thief, and during that struggle the pistol discharged, and the bullet hit the arm of the robber.

Reports are that the thief was beaten in the head to subdue him because he was still trying to escape.

The thief was subdued, and handed over to police, who had rushed to the scene. The robber was identified as James Escarpeta, 35, a veteran criminal of Hattieville.

ACP Joseph Myvett, police’s Head of Crimes Investigation, said that some stolen  items were recovered from Escarpeta.

Although the man who tackled and subdued Escarpeta displayed bravery, Myvett said that it is not advisable to confront a criminal in that way because the criminal could have shot and killed him.

Police took Escarpeta to the Western Regional Hospital, where he is admitted in a serious but stable condition, under police guard.

Escarpeta is well-known to police. In November of 2006, a broad daylight murder on Euphrates Avenue at the height of the afternoon stunned the city. The crime was brazen and utterly lawless, as a pair of gunmen just appeared on the scene and opened fire on a group of young men who were socializing in front of a home.

It happened just one block away from the corner of Cemetery Road and Euphrates Avenue, which is a very busy intersection.

James Escarpeta and Brandon Tillett had been charged with the death of Kevin Parks and the shooting of Charlie Moss. The case against the two men collapsed when one witness “caught amnesia” and the second witness was shot and could not attend court.

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