$500k of jewellery robbed

| 06/01/2014

(CNS): Christopher Myles (left) and James McLean, who have been charged with the New Year’s Day jewellery store robbery in George Town, were remanded in custody Monday when the men’s defence attorneys made no applications for bail. The accused men’s appearance was short, as the case was immediately transmitted to the Grand Court, where the two suspects are now due to appear on 17 January. Neither Myles nor McLean, who appeared in the dock with what seemed to be a black eye, spoke as the charges against them were read out. Represented by defence attorneys John Furniss and Fiona Robertson, the men are accused of stealing around half a million dollars worth of jewellery.

Police have charge both men with robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent but that later charge could change once professional verification about the gun’s capability of firing has been received by the officers in the case. Although early reports suggest that the weapon was fired, this has not yet been confirmed.

Myles and McLean are accused of entering Diamonds International, masked and armed with handguns and a hammer, at around 8:20am on Wednesday 1 January shortly after the store opened with one other man, who is still in police custody. The men reportedly told customers and staff in the downtown jewellery store to get on the ground as they smashed several display cases and helped themselves to the expensive booty.

The men then fled but they were foiled in their escape because, in a significant coincidence, Police Commissioner David Baines, who was off duty, happened to be sitting in his own car at nearby traffic lights when he saw the masked men in the store and their attempt to flee in a getaway vehicle. Baines reportedly drove after them running them down and injuring the third suspect, who has not yet been charged.

Members of the public who witnessed the daylight hold-up at the store opposite the Royal Watler cruise terminal also assisted in the apprehension of the suspects. At the time at least two cruise ships had already docked in the harbour and hundreds of passengers had disembarked into the area.

Baines told the UK’s Daily Mail that he was in the area, having arranged to meet a friend and former UK police colleague outside the same jewellery store, which is why, he said, he was “in the right place at the right time”.

He explained to the UK newspaper that as he arrived he saw a security guy running out of Diamonds International.

“As I looked into the shop I could see at least two masked men,” he said, adding that he spun his Chevrolet Trailblazer around and then saw three men running from the store and getting into a getaway vehicle.

"I rammed the car to try and block them. I was partially successful,” Baines told the Daily Mail. “They climbed out of the car and started running so I went after them and hit two of the guys up against a fence. One slipped beneath the car,” he admitted. It was then that members of the public grappled with the two suspects that Baines pinned against the fence.

See Daily Mail article here.

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