By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter
Two separate investigations are underway – one by the Ladyville Police and the other by the Belize Defense Force (BDF) to determine how two secured containers with several thousand rounds of military ammunition for the US Army were stolen from the BDF’s guarded ammunition and explosives storage facility on the Lord’s Bank road.
The stolen ammunition is worth roughly $20,000 and are used in M-16 and M-4 rifles.
While a patrol discovered the breach at around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, authorities do not know when the actual breach occurred.
Lt. Col. Raymond Shepherd, the force’s chief of staff, told reporters on Friday “the last time we did a check for 100 percent accountability was the seventh of December.
“We have armed guards that conduct patrols on a routine basis, at a minimum of thirty minute intervals”, Shepherd continued.
Shepherd added that the BDF has a series of systems and policies in place to prevent these types of incidents. “In this case each one of those systems and policies was breached systematically. We believe that there are several people involved.
The BDF have a number of men from its ranks, all the way up to captain, on its investigation list.
Shepherd revealed that 1,685 rounds of .56 and eight rounds of 5.56, and 1,000 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, stored for American soldiers doing training, were stolen.
While a section of the chain link fence at the back of the compound was cut, investigators believe the thieves escaped with the ammunition through the gate.
Shepherd said the BDF will review its security features and make upgrades where necessary.