The Mayor of San Ignacio Earl Trapp and his wife were victims on Tuesday night of the violence that is sweeping across the country and spares no one. The Trapp’s were inside their house when armed thieves, who were posing as police officers, targeted them. The mayor’s wife was held at gunpoint when the fake cops demanded money. It was a horrifying experience, but the mayor bravely fought off his attackers. Their ordeal started when the men gained entrance to their front door asking for water. Here is News Five’s Hipolito Novelo.
Hipolito Novelo, Reporting
At around nine forty-five on Tuesday night, Mayor Earl Trapp was fast asleep at his home on Eight Street in San Ignacio Town when he was awakened by his wife.
Earl Trapp, Mayor of San Ignacio/Santa Elena
“She said that she heard someone knocking on the door so she thought it was my little son. When she called my son’s name, the guy knocked again on the door. The guy failed to answer so she turned on the light outside. When she peeped through to the window she saw three men dressed in camouflage uniform and hats.”
The three fake cops dressed in camouflage clothing made their way through Trapp’s front gate to his front door. They told him that they were on a routine mobile patrol but stopped at his house to get water because they were feeling dehydrated. Believing their story, Mayor Trapp unlocked the burglar barred door; a decision he’ll come to regret.
“When I opened the door they barged in. When they barged in on me, they try to hold up my hands and said ‘you are under arrest’. When they said, ‘you are under arrest’ I told them arrest for what?”
A struggle ensued between the men and Mayor Trapp. One of the intruders produced a duct tape and attempted to restrain Trapp by binding his hands but he fought. Meanwhile, the third intruder held a gun at the wife’s head.
“When I realized that it was something bogus it was when they said I was under arrest. When I saw the duct tape, it was the worse one because I thought that this is something bogus. A struggle ensued. Two of them tackled me. They brought me down but we exchange blows. And while I was on the ground I was able to hit a couple of them with my feet. They kicked me. We exchanged blows. This continued for almost four to five minutes. The guy with the gun that was holding the gun at my wife’s head, he realized that I will not stop yelling and asking, screaming for help. I was screaming for help but no one came and I said I will just continue. When I realized that it was to bound by hands and feet, is aid no. If you will try to tie me out and take me out from here, it is best if you shoot me. That is what came through my mind. That is the reason I fought valiantly to try to scare them off.”
During the fight, Trapp suffered minor injuries including a bite to the face.
“If you notice here on my right cheek, we were exchanging blows; I never gave up. They were kicking me up and at last, the guy bit me here. If you notice there is an imprint. While he bit me, his hands were trying to cover my mouth so I bit his fingers as well. So this is basically the worse of it if course with my body aching, my back and my chest.”
Seeing that Trapp would not give up, one of the men made his way to Trapp’s bedroom and came out with a brown safe box before running out through the front door.
“The guy that had the gun at my wife’s head, said Miss where is the money. She said that we don’t have money here, which money are you talking about? Just give me the money. Which money? Ms. I will shoot. Well, I don’t have any money. He then went into my room. He picked up a vault that I had in there and he stepped out and said guys, let’s go and that is how they left me. And they got into the vehicle and sped off.”
The robbers escaped in a red SUV that was waiting for them. They escaped with approximately three thousand dollars in U.S. currency and one thousand in Belize dollars. Trapp believes that someone who knows the details of his house fed the robbers information.
“I think it was if you want to call it an inside job, someone that knows my house. That probably orchestrated this attack. So, and that is what makes me believe that it was orchestrated. From the time that they came in through that gate is because someone had already spoken to them about how they can to my door.”
“Security Cameras, did it capture the entire incident?”
“Yes. It captured the entire incident. What we are doing now is that we are taking the video to Belmopan to a guy who has the proper equipment to enhance it.”
“The faces of these intruders are easily visible in the security footage?”
“No, because the cap that they wore had like an overhang so it wasn’t that visible. No, not at all. I think I may be able to recognize one of them if I see them again.”
Tonight, investigators are questioning one person whom they believe is familiar with Trapp’s residence. ACP Joseph Myvett warns the public to be cautious of fake police officers.
ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch
“Certainly it is a concern. What I can say is that the area is frequently patrol by police officers. What I would want to advise the public is that in the event that something like this should occur at your residence you must seek the identification of those persons and if they are police officers they will come in police vehicles. At this point in time we are following all leads and like I said we have one person detained.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Trapp says he’ll be more cautious when dealing with members of the public.
“It is really sad but it is just the reality of it now. The good will have to suffer for the bad. Now, it cases of emergency I am sorry but once I am in my house I will not let anyone in. I will not go out. It will have to be the next morning at the office, at eight o’clock. So that is just the new protocol. I don’t believe in honestly living in prison. I will continue to be free but of course with more caution. I will be more cautious in whatever I do, wherever I go I will certainly be more caution, just be more careful. That is all I need to be.”