And while armed bandits are pretending to be police in the south, in the waters off the Belize district, sea bandits are playing pirate.
Two fishing boats were stolen in the same area around the same time yesterday evening.
33 year old Gaspar Cantun, a Boat Captain of Corozal stated that at about 5:00pm yesterday, he was with three other men in his 23 foot sailing boat, "Karisha", at Blue Field Range which is 16 miles south of Belize City.
A fifteen foot skiff named "Flash" with three dark skinned men on board pulled up on them. The men wore long sleeved shirts and had their faces covered with rags. Two of the men were armed with handguns and the other with what appeared to be a rifle.
The men then ordered them to get off the boat and Cantun and his crew jumped into the water, whilst the trip took possession of their boat and left the area. The boat contained, an outboard engine, 18 gallons of gasoline, plus (25) pounds of lobster, and (25) pounds of conch.
Police have since recovered the sailing boat; it was stuck about half mile from where the incident took place. And while the vessel was there, the 40 H/P outboard engine was gone.
An hour after that incident - at 6:00 pm - 51 year old Isauro Perez, a Boat Captain, also from Corozal was onboard a white 25 foot sailing boat also at Blue Field Range along with a crew of 7 seafaring men.
In similar fashion, the skiff named "Flash" pulled up on them and men matching the same description as in the first incident fired several shots towards Perez and his crew and ordered them to jump into the water. They complied and again the assailants took possession of their boat and left the area.
That vessel has not been recovered.
FISHERMEN ASSAULTED AT SEA
Armed robberies and home invasions have been in the news a lot this year; but on Tuesday evening the jackers took to the high seas. According to police reports a group of fisherman from Corozal was in the Blue Field Range about sixteen miles south of Belize City, when they were accosted by three dark complexion men in another boat. Police say two of the jackers carried handguns, while the third carried a long firearm which they pointed at the fishermen and ordered them off the boat. Boat captain, thirty three year old Gaspar Cantun says, that fearing for their lives, he and his companions jumped into the sea. Cantun says that the assailants then took off in his boat loaded with twenty five pounds of lobster and twenty five points of conch and eighteen gallons of gasoline. Police say they found the twenty three foot boat stuck about a half mile from where the robbery took place; but without its forty horsepower outboard engine. The second incident happened about an hour later in the same Blue Field Range and carried the same modus operandi. Three men reportedly accosted Isauro Perez and his companions and ordered them off their boat. After Perez and seven other men abandoned their twenty five foot sailing boat, the three armed men took off in the vessel. Police investigations continue.
Guat raping of Belize’s protected areas continue unabated
Armed robbery on Bluefield Range!
Police and Coast Guard report that on Tuesday, December 20, three armed men in a boat held up three different crews of fishermen in the Bluefield Range, south of Belize City.
Police and the Belize Coast Guard have been able to determine that in all three instances, the same group of men used one vessel to commit these robberies, which happened only eight to ten miles apart.
The authorities say that the robberies were committed within three to four hours of each other, which also supports the theory that the culprits are the same.
Gaspar Cantun, 33, a fisherman from the Corozal District, reported to police that he and his crew were aboard his sailing vessel, “Karisha”, in the Bluefield Range, which is about sixteen miles south of Belize City.
Cantun said that at around 5 p.m., they were approached by a white, 15-foot wooden skiff with the name “Flash.” Onboard the skiff were three armed men, who pointed their guns at Cantun and his crew. The men ordered them to abandon the sailing vessel, which they did by boarding their dories.
The thieves then stole Cantun’s sailing vessel, which had eighteen gallons of gasoline, twenty-five pounds of lobster, and twenty-five pounds of conch. The Belize Coast Guard had to rescue the men, who were stranded in their dories.
Police have recovered Cantun’s vessel, but the aforementioned stolen items were missing, along with the vessel’s 40-horsepower outboard engine.
About an hour later, Isauro Perez, 51, a fisherman of Corozal District, became the second victim of robbery at sea.
He told police that at 6 p.m., he and his crew were on his sailing vessel, which had a 40-horsepower outboard engine, in the Bluefield Range, near Alligator Caye.
They were approached by a wooden skiff bearing the name “Flash,” which had a crew of three men, who had their faces covered with rags. They were all armed; they pointed their firearms at Perez and his crew and ordered them to jump into the water.
The men complied, and the assailants stole their marine products and their fuel. The men then escaped, which allowed Perez and his crew to board their vessel and go to Belize City to inform police of the holdup and robbery.
Amandala spoke with Commander Elton Bennett, Acting Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard about the serious nature of these robberies, which happened in the same general area on the seas.
Bennett told us today that there was a third robbery which was reported directly to them, which happened near Spanish Lookout Caye. In this incident, the fisherman/captain was also robbed of his day’s catch and his fuel within two hours after Perez and his crew were attacked.
Bennett said that the Belize Coast Guard and the Police Department have been investigating these incidents. They believe that they are looking for the same group of men, who they believe committed all three robberies. The Coast Guard also believes that it was the same vessel which was used in all instances.
According to Bennett, the vessel “Flash” has been flagged before. He said that a few weeks back, the Coast Guard intercepted the vessel and discovered that the crew was in violation of several fisheries statutes.
Bennett said that it was discovered that the men had large quantities of undersized marine catch, and as a result, they were seized. These men were escorted to court, charged, and fined. Based on their intelligence from the reports made by the three victims, they believe that it is this same crew that has committed these robberies.
Bennett said that the authorities have gathered enough information, and that it is just a matter of time before they locate and arrest the men.