CAYMAN ISLANDS – Diamonds stolen in armed robbery
GEORGE TOWN –– Casually dressed and making no effort to conceal their faces, two men walked into a Camana Bay jewellery store Wednesday night and held it up at gunpoint. The pair, who both spoke Spanish during the robbery, ordered staff at Island Jewellers to fill a bag with diamonds before escaping on a white dirt bike in the direction of West Bay.
Though armed robberies have become increasingly common in Grand Cayman, it is the first time the upscale outdoor shopping mall has been targeted.
Mark VanDevelde, CEO of Dart Realty, which owns the jewellery store, said: “Another armed robbery in the Cayman Islands is very unsettling and undermines our islands’ reputation as a safe and secure place to live or to visit. We must come together and take a zero tolerance approach to crime.”
The faces of the suspects in Wednesday night’s robbery were clearly captured on the store’s CCTV cameras, and the images were widely circulated by police yesterday.
According to a statement from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, it was just before 8:45 p.m. when the first of the men entered the store, opposite Books & Books on Camana Bay’s main street, posing as a shopper.
While being assisted by staff at the store, the man pulled out a handgun and ordered them to fill a bag with jewellery.
As this was happening, the second man, also carrying a handgun, entered the store and stood by the entrance.
Police said the men escaped with a “quantity of diamonds”, though they did not reveal the value of the stolen property.
The two men were almost identically dressed in long blue jeans, dark Armani Exchange T-shirts and baseball caps.
In a statement yesterday, Dart Realty said it was working closely with the police and hoped to bring the perpetrators to justice swiftly.
The company praised its staff for their “calm and professional” behaviour during the robbery and said no one had suffered “any serious physical injuries”.
“We commend them for their courage and their conduct during the incident. We hold the welfare of our team, our tenants, customers and visitors to the Town Centre above all else,” said a spokeswoman.
She said Camana Bay had 24-hour dedicated on-site security personnel and state-of-the-art monitoring systems, including multiple CCTV cameras, while Island Jewellers, a Dart-owned company, had its own security systems, cameras, training and protocols.