On Wednesday, March 18th, 1998, Gildardo Cardona, manager of Atlantic Bank San Pedro Branch, arrived at home at about 5:30 p.m. after work and found his wife, housekeeper and three month old baby being held against their will by Rogel Arturo Rivero and Wilmar Ortiz.
According to the official police report, Mr. Cardona found his wife, Rocia Cardona, tied with duct tape and rope, laying on the bed in their bedroom with their baby next to her. The housekeeper, Alva Cruz, was also bound with duct tape and rope and was seated in a chair in the bedroom. Rivero, a 21 year old, was armed with what looked like a hand gun and his accomplice, 18 year old Wilmar Ortiz was armed with a large butcher knife. Rivero and Ortiz demanded that Mr. Cardona hand over the valuables he had in his possession. They took his cellular phone and $934.00. The men then ordered Mr. Cardona to go to the bank and to get $50,000.00 dollars for them or they would kill his wife and child. Mr. Cardona complied and Rivero escorted him to the bank. Mr. Cardona was allowed to enter the bank alone while Rivero stayed outside to keep watch. Inside the bank, Mr. Cardona telephoned the police, told them what had transpired and described Rivero to them. The police acted immediately and detained Rivero. The police found in his possession a toy gun and Mr. Cardona's cellular phone. Rivero was taken to the police station and the officers organized a quick response team and went to Cardona's home. Mr. Cardona went upstairs alone and told Ortiz that Rivero was down stairs along with the money. Ortiz immediately went downstairs and was disarmed and arrested by the police. No one was injured and the $934.00 was recovered. A police investigation into the incident revealed that Alva Cruz was well known by Rivero and Ortiz and is believed to be an accomplice. Ortiz and Rivero were charged jointly for kidnapping, robbery, aggravated burglary, black mail and conspiracy to robbery. Alva Cruz was only charged for conspiracy to robbery. The three were taken to Belize City where they will remain in police custody until they appear in Supreme Court. All three are Honduran and therefore will not be granted bail. The charges brought against Ortiz, Rivero and Cruz in this case are classified as offenses that must be heard in Supreme Court.
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