Robber left pile of clues

| 10/04/2014

(CNS): A 34-year-old man made easy work for the RCIPS when he left a pile of incriminating evidence just yards away from the scene of a daylight robbery. One of four men arrested in connection with the Sprint courier hold-up outside a local insurance firm on 4 October 2012, Manuel Carter, not only left his jeans by the abandoned getaway car with the loaded gun used in the robbery in the front pocket, the pants also contained his wallet with his driver’s licence and other identifying information. DNA and fingerprints from him and two of his co-conspirators were also left on the car, which led the police to arrest three members of the criminal gang in West Bay early in the case. Brandon Liberal was the fourth man arrested in the joint enterprise over a year later.

Carter and Liberal had originally pleaded not guilty and a trial was set for February, and despite the selection of a jury, both men made a 'court house door’ admission ahead of the crown opening its case against them.

A third man, John Cohen, who admitted his part in the crime at a much early stage, also gave evidence to the police against his co-conspirators. He is awaiting sentence for his part in the daylight heist in the car park of BritCay Insurance in Eastern Avenue, George Town. Meanwhile, the fourth robber, Tarick Crawford (18), who was said to have driven one of the two getaway cars to the scene, has not yet made any formal admissions in the case as his fitness to plead to the crime remains in dispute.

Appearing before Justice Quin on Thursday for sentencing, Carter and Liberal stood convicted of robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm. The court heard from the director of public prosecutions, Cheryl Ricahrds, QC, that Carter was the masked man who held up the courier driver as he came out of the BritCay offices with the money deposits.

Carter made off into a white getaway car being driven by Cohen with some $8,500 dollars in local and US currency as well as a number of cheques. The men sped off down Eastern Avenue and then turned into Bodden Road and abandoned that car in a side road behind Puritan Cleaners. It was there that the men took the cash from the courier bag but left the cheques, envelops and deposit slips on the ground.

Carter also changed clothes but left his jeans pants containing a lighter, a cigarette butt, the hand gun and even his wallet before getting into a second grey getaway vehicle driven by Liberal, who took both him and Cohen back to West Bay.

The men left DNA and finger prints in and on the white car, which was quickly found by police and all four men were recorded on CCTV by the security camera in the Kirks Home Centre car park. Police were also later to secure telephone evidence connecting the gang. The court heard that the men had planned together to execute the robbery and had been watching the office building for some time to see when the courier van came and went in order to plot the crime.

The men had scheduled the heist for 3 October but the hapless robbers were out of luck that day as the courier van never showed up. The next day, however, as the four waited in the car park across the street at Kirks in full view of the CCTV cameras, they communicated via hand held radio.

When the Sprint courier van finally arrived, Liberal was said to have given the code signal for the heist to begin: “the foods on the table”, the court heard and Cohen and Carter sprang into action. The men drove across to the BritCay office, where Carter got out of the car and approached the courier driver, armed with a hand gun, which he pointed at the man’s stomach as he took the cash bag from him.

The robbersescape was short lived as an officer on patrol had heard the details of the robbery on the police radio system and she soon located the white getaway vehicle. Once scenes of crime officers arrived and Carter’s jeans, gun and ID uncovered, the case was not a difficult one to crack.

Following the crown’s outlining of the charges and circumstances against the two men, local attorneys Charles Clifford and John Furniss, representing Carter and Liberal, spoke for their clients. However, the lawyers faced an uphill battle as there was little room for mitigation as the law calls for a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years for a firearms conviction with a possible reduction to seven for a guilty plea.

With 23 previous convictions, ranging from drug possession to burglary and assault, Clifford said that Carter had faced a difficult life and had been failed by the system from an early age. He told the court that Carter, who was born in Cuba to a Cayman father and Cuban mother, could not speak English when he was brought to Cayman at a young age and because he struggled in school with the second language he was a slow learner but was sent to the Lighthouse School, which was an inappropriate environment, Clifford said.

Struggling his entire life with a cocaine addiction, Clifford said his client genuinely wanted to turn his life around and would be seeking to take up the services on offer at the jail to rehabilitate himself. Clifford said his client now found himself called something he never wanted to be because of the drug – a robber, which, he added, had been something of a wake-up call.

Meanwhile, with no serious previous convictions and having played a lesser role in the robbery as the getaway driver, Liberal had admitted his guilt much sooner, his lawyer noted, and he was not charged until late last year. Furniss asked the court to give full credit to his client, who had been of relative good character with possession of ganja the only previous offence against him before his involvement in armed daylight robbery.

The judge in the case, Justice Charles Quin, listened to the submissions and adjourned that case until 24 April, when he said he would deliver his decision on sentencing as he remanded Carter and Liberal in custody.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    To the Writer of 10/04/2014 of 21:26 "LOL our educated Caymanian". I will start off with 'Blank, Blank,Blank', because I do not want to cuss some Jamaican dotee bad words.  For your information, my neice attended the George Town Primary School and the John Gray High School and is a Scientist with three Masters Degree.   Yes!! This is a little dark coloured Caymanian who went to the government school.  My son attended both the Catholic School here and then John Gray High School and was accepted into Rollins College.  Graduated top of his class with 2 Masters and doing very well.  My other nephews and children have all had their time at John Gray and not a R@$$ thing is wrong with them.  They are all educated with degrees in various areas.   But it is people like you why Cayman is void of the well educated Caymanians who refuse to come back home and combat for jobs in their country with the exception of the ones like my neice.  Her profession calls for taking up employment elswhere. 

    From a Status Holder with Caymanian kids with REAL Caymanina family.

    • anonymous says:

      So your niece is in fact an expat. Those people from elsewhere could be disenfranchised.

    • anonymous says:

      "But it is people like you why Cayman is void of the well educated Caymanians who refuse to come back home and combat for jobs in their country with the exception of the ones like my neice.  Her profession calls for taking up employment elswhere."

      so it is alright to be a Caymanian expat in someone else's country but not if you are an expat in Cayman?

      Maybe they are not refusing to come home, they have just realised that if you travel past East end, you will not fall off the edge of the world.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Everyone has a story and a history. Many of us we grew up in difficult envirnonments and still kept on the right side of the law. With 23 previous convictions, you got that right the system failed. He should have been put away long time ago.

    Criminal is the number one enemy, traitor to the country. If we would have set the example from the start with the right consequences, today we would not have so many bad people on the streets.

    The "slap on the wrist" system hoping for the best has brought the worst in these people. And it will continue with severe consequences for the abiding citizens that find themselves exposed to the crooks going around the revolving door.

    Everyone deserves a second chance but, 23 chances? How many chances did the victims had to recover their property and the confidence to return to normality after having been robbed?

    There is something really wrong when good citizens live afraid behind fortressed homes and the bad guys can run around free.

    Criminal = Traitor. Maximum penalty.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well at least this is one RCIPS can solve……….I hope..

  4. Anonymous says:

    poster 21:26 they don't teach how to get away with crime in either government school or private school, it's good old common sense that helps in this case sometime , and judging by your comment you would probably fit right in with mr carter or below.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Note to self: if ever committing a crime, don't take off pants 

  6. Anonymous says:

    These mem are menices to society and are very bad influences to young people they should be given the max in hopes that they will have enough time to really change their ways.

  7. Anonymous says:

    At last some criminals the RCIPS can outsmart

  8. Anonymous says:

    The evil i can tolerate but the shear stupidty is something else

  9. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the confession statement left at the scene? 

  10. anonymous says:

    Cayman finest.

  11. Anonymous says:

    LOL!!!! our educated Caymanians, must have had a great Gov school education…..

    • Anonymous says:

      To the comment n 10/04/2014 – 21:26

      IGNORANT comment! Why is the first thing that comes your mind where they got their education? Why isn't it, "Our educated Caymanians, must have been raised by some great educated parents"? Alot of these issues start in the home from a young age, and some are on the individuals doing…not where they went to school. To read that comment you posted, it makes me wonder where you got your glorious education from.

  12. Anonymous says:

    A clueless robber

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just deport them and tell immigration to be more vigilant on who they let in and who they let stay.

    • Anonymous says:

      At the port of entry, check how much they are worth and that should determine their entrance or exit (return flight).  Too many drifters with empty pockets.

  14. Just Commentin' says:

    Egads!! They left their DNA on the car? What the hell were they doing with that poor car?

  15. Anonymous says:

    This needs to be added to the show,Dumb Crooks.ha ha ha da weh u get

  16. Anonymous says:


    Accept a plea for just being stupid sect. 151(j) of the penal code. LMSS (Laughing my self silly).

    What a team!!!