by Charles Gladden
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Sept. 22, 2022
At about 4:30 a.m. on Monday, September 19, robbers attempted what could have been the most sophisticated break-in and robbery in Belizean history at one of the country’s oldest, most trusted institutions—the Holy Redeemer Credit Union.
Prior to the crime, the robbers had seemingly been planning how they would enter the building and taking a close look at what obstacles they could meet, since it’s been reported that several cables in the area had been cut, and they took with them what is suspected to be Clorox-doused bread, dipped in gravy, to poison two dogs in a nearby yard—one of which, according to reports, barked loudly whenever something seemed awry. Having killed the dogs, they then leaned a piece of zinc against the cement fence surrounding the HRCU building, and climbed into the compound.
It was then that the robbers, who were reportedly wearing Hazmat suits, boldly embarked on the most daring part of the robbery—using a jackhammer to steadily smash the bricks which form one wall of the building until they had created a large enough passageway for them to enter the building. They would not get the chance to approach the HRCU’s vaults or to access any of the funds stored by the union which reportedly has assets that total approximately $700 million, however. About 15 seconds after they entered the building, an alarm went off—forcing them to flee.
Clement Usher, the HRCU’s chief financial officer, told 7News, “The security called to say that the alarm had gone off, and I came down, and when we opened up the office, we found that they did penetrate the walls of the building in the back of the building, but they were inside probably for less than 10 or 15 seconds, because of course the alarm went off, and so the footage shows them scampering to go back through the hole that they came in.”
What the robbers left, however, was a huge, haunting hole in the wall of the building—a reminder of how far criminals in the country now intend to go to get what they want.
The Police Department’s communications director, ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, commented on what appears to the high-level planning of the would-be robbers: “From the hole in the wall, we would want to say that these criminals are either educating themselves by watching all these CSI and so forth. Or they just watch a lot of Netflix movies. But, I am certain that our detectives are prepared for these types of crimes, and I am certain that we will find out something sooner than later. And, in this little country of ours, a crime of that nature, people would want to go and boast and we are hoping that they would,” he said.
The HRCU’s Chief Financial Officer, in addition to noting that the credit union’s vaults are secure, stated that the HRCU will now be putting in place additional security measures to ensure the continued safety of the funds stored at the institution.
“Well, we will put in additional cameras and security because the security company did their job. The alarm did not reach the company but the security that was on hand called and they came over and they made the report,” he said.
“We are having meetings to check our security plan, and we want to make sure that everything is intact, that… if they ever try again they won’t be successful. They will never get into the vault and those places are so secure … ,” he went on to say.