Getaway not so clean for Tortuga robbers

| 12/12/2011

_DEW0535.jpg(CNS): Two men were apprehended by police and charged with the robbery of the Tortuga liquor store in West Bay because witnesses saw the men get into their getaway vehicles, according to the prosecution. A customer outside the store and a passing cyclist both saw the robbers as they tried to make their escape in separate cars the crown’s counsel, Kenneth Ferguson told the court Monday as the trial of Dennis Ebanks and John McLaughlin opened. The two men are accused of holding up the store in February of this year and stealing some $2000 at gunpoint.

Opening his case against both men for robbery and for possession of an imitation firearm against McLaughlin, the crown’s lawyer described how two masked men had held up the store popular with cruise visitors in the middle of the day.

Ferguson said that although the men were masked during the commission of the crime they were spotted getting into two cars across the street from the robbery by two separate witnesses who both called 911 and reported the details of the vehicles including license plates. The police were then able to track down the robbers and arrested them both for the crime.

The store is situated between the Turtle Farm, the Cayman Car Museum, a dolphinairium, the Cracked Conch restaurant and the Macabuca Tiki bar all of which are popular tourist locations. The hold-up took place on a day when there were four cruise ships in port.

The first witness called by the crown as the case opened was the sales clerk in the store on the day of the robbery who said the store had been very busy that day. She described how two masked men had entered the shop around lunch time. One of them who was wearing a black and white handkerchief over his face and carrying a silver gun pointed the weapon at her and asked for the money. She opened the cash register and the gunman told her to turn around and not look at him. She then heard the cash pan fall to the floor as the robbers then fled.

Although unhurt the clerk told the court that she was traumatized by the event and a fellow staff member at the store was the one who made the 911 call which coupled with the reports from the two witnesses outside led to the robbers both being apprehended by police shortly after the crime.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to the crime and have opted for a judge alone trial before Justice Charles Quin, the case continues tomorrow in courtroom five.

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