Pre-dawn home invaders terrorize healthcare professionals
BELIZE CITY, Wed October 13, 2021 – Just before 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 12, a doctor recovering from a stroke, Dr. Maria Reyes, 53, and nurse Melinda Guerra, who was previously director of the Central Health Region, had a horrific experience when they discovered four masked men were inside their Belize City home on Chancellor Avenue in West Landivar, asking for money – in large quantities.
Nurse Guerra, who spoke to local media off-camera, said she first heard strange noises between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., and although she heard these noises three times during her sleep, she ignored them and went back to sleep. . It was not until shortly before 5 a.m. that she heard the screams of her partner, Dr. Reyes, and learned that the noises she had heard came from the indiscreet opening of an anti-theft bar enclosing a window on the lower flat of the residence by masked men who had entered the house.
She told local reporters that the men, dressed in black and camouflage clothing with hats, were flying over Dr Reyes. “It was about a quarter to 5:15 when I heard Dr Reyes scream and then I rushed over to where she was and that’s when I saw four men, you know about her. They were on it, yeah, so I went like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I said, “Please don’t hurt Dr Reyes, he’s a doctor, she’s just recovering from a stroke,” and actually when they heard that, l ‘one of them helped her get back to bed, then one of them ordered me or asked me, lie down on the bed too, ”she said.
She said the men asked for money and then started ransacking the house, as if they were looking for something specific, and when they probably weren’t able to find what they were looking for, they seized Guerra by force and ordered him to find the money. .
Nurse Guerra, who noted that one of the men appeared to be in charge and had a calm temper, said she was told to open the office, obtained a key and complied . She then remembered that there was a box in the study that contained money that was held by the doctor, and she then handed the box to them. According to police reports, there was almost US $ 13,000 inside. The funds were supposed to be used by Reyes to cover the costs of a retirement trip to the Holy City (the Vatican in Rome), according to local reports.
It appears, however, that the men’s goal was to take loot of much higher value with them. According to Guerra, when she handed the box over, another of the thieves, who was more hostile than the thief who was in charge, “was still not satisfied with that”, and according to Guerra, “he was putting pressure on the person. …. that they have to do something.
According to Guerra, what may have defused the situation was the discovery of an official Covid-19 tampon that Guerra had received from her supervisor, which convinced the men that she was indeed a nurse. Three of the thieves then left the room, while one remained. This thief then placed duct tape on the legs, hands and mouths of the women.
They would later leave the scene in Dr. Reyes’ vehicle, a late model Toyota Hilux valued at around BZ $ 100,000, along with the US $ 13,000 in the box, along with an assortment of jewelry. in gold and a piggy bank full of 1 dollar coins.
Police, who were contacted shortly after 6:00 a.m. that morning, have since arrested four people in connection with the aggravated burglary. The first suspect was found at his home Tuesday afternoon, and when that home was searched, police found some of the items allegedly stolen in the home invasion, as well as clothing similar to those Guerra said armed robbers had worn at the time of the incident. The other three men were found later that night in one of the suspect’s homes, still with the clothes allegedly worn by the gunmen during the robbery.
According to Police Commissioner Chester Williams, the Toyota Hilux is believed to have already crossed the border into Guatemala, where stolen Hilux vehicles have often been transported in recent years for sale.
“One of the burglars took us to a place where he said they hid the Hilux before it was sold in Guatemala. But when we got to the scene only traces were seen, and apparently the vehicle had already been taken to Guatemala, so we’re liaising with our Guatemalan counterparts to see what can be done there to locate and return the vehicle to Belize. explained Commissioner Williams.