Independence Police have detained two police officers, a Belize Defense Force corporal and a taxi driver from the village in connection with a brazen daylight robbery of the Toledo Teachers Credit Union (TTCU) between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 Monday morning, June 4.
The incident occurred just as the credit union opened its doors for business in Bella Vista Village, in the Stann Creek District.
Independence Police have detained Nelson Bardalez, 42, taxi driver of Independence Village; Oswald Young, 29, Police Constable #510, a resident of Unitedville Village, Cayo District; and Zachario Cuz, 26, Police Constable and resident of San Marcos Village, Toledo District.
Both constables are attached to the Eastern Division Police Patrol Branch. Police also detained Romel Elijio, 31, a BDF Corporal who is a resident of Sunflower Street, Belize City and is assigned to B-Sag.
TTCU manager Barry Bardalez told police three men, two of whom wore masks, stormed into the building, brandishing what appeared to be two M16 assault rifles and a 9mm pistol.
There were about 20 customers present, Bardalez reported.
The robbers quickly disarmed the security guard and demanded money at gunpoint from the credit union’s employees, who, fearing for their lives, opened the vault.
The robbers helped themselves to an undisclosed amount of Belize and United States currencies, which they placed in a green military bag.
They also stole a pair of 9mm pistols, each loaded with 15 rounds, reportedly valued at $6,500, and then escaped in the credit union’s 2008 green Toyota Hilux pick-up, which was later recovered on a feeder road in Savannah, just off the Southern Highway.
Police intercepted Bardalez as he was driving a dark blue Isuzu Trooper, registration SC-D 1150, from Independence Village toward Savannah.
Police found three men inside the Trooper along with a green military bag containing $34,064 in cash.
Leopoldo Romero, TTCU’s general manager, speaking to one local television reporter, said, “it appears that they worked with security forces because of the way they tear through the door and maneuvered and talked to the employees definitely sounded like people from some kind of training.”