Jamaica: 4 cops held for $17M jewellery heist

(Jamaica Observer) Four policemen have been detained in connection with a robbery in Hellshire, St Catherine, last week when thieves made off with $17 million worth of jewellery, US$5,500 in cash, and other items.

The Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency confirmed yesterday that the officers had been taken into custody, but their identities have not yet been released.

Victims of the robbery — two senior citizens who returned to Jamaica three years ago after living in the United States for more than 40 years — had been visiting relatives in Florida, United States, when a neighbour who went to water their plants noticed things amiss and informed them of the break-in at their house last Monday.

The couple, who requested anonymity, had planned to travel from Florida to New York, but cancelled that trip and returned to Jamaica on Tuesday evening.

They reported the matter at the Hellshire Police Station on Wednesday but things only got worse.

The elderly woman told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday that when she was summoned to her door by men dressed in police uniform, Wednesday night, she thought they had come to take additional statements.

“About little after 8:00 I heard my name called three times, and I called my husband and said there is someone calling. My husband opened the door [and] there were three men — two very tall — dressed like police officers in full blue. I got up and went to the door because they didn’t identify themselves. They didn’t say where they are from and I had already spoken to a detective about the break-in. They ignored me, [but] I insisted on asking where they’re from and they said Portmore,” the woman related.

“I said this is Hellshire, and Hellshire cops came, crime unit came Monday, and I spoke to the detective. In fact, he left here at five o’clock, so I don’t understand.

“At that point I got uncomfortable and I backed in. As soon as I backed in the three men rushed my husband. He was right before me and they pushed him up to me, then pushed us into the bedroom.”

She said the men ordered them to lie face down and not to make eye contact. “I heard footsteps running in, ‘bap, bap, bap’. They had big guns and they put a cushion over my husband’s head and put the gun at the back of his head. I started praying aloud. They told me, ‘Shut up, shut up’,” she related last week.

Insisting that she felt she was being targeted, the woman said she was terrified.

According to the woman, the $17 million worth of jewellery, receipts for some of the jewellery, US$5,500, bank statements, among other things, were stolen between Sunday and Wednesday night.

She said: “Seven million dollars worth of jewellery was taken Sunday night. They emptied a draw and [took] everything — watches, rings, jewellery sets. Then they came back (Wednesday) for the other bag that I had secured with [another $10 million worth of jewellery],” she told the Observer.

The US$5,500, said the elderly woman, would have been taken the Wednesday night when men dressed like police assaulted her and her husband and searched the house.

“They have cleaned me out; only God knows what’s next. They even took toiletries, my wigs, make-up, and alcohol,” she said.

The St Catherine South police are investigating.

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