By Marion V. Ali
Yannick Wade, 27, police constable # 1332, is on remand at the Hattieville Prison after he was denied bail for a slew of gun-related offences.
This follows the discovery, according to police, of two stolen guns in the general area where his 16-year old girlfriend and her family reside, at the corner of Johnson Street and Cemetery Road in Belize City.
The Reporter has learned that Wade was one of four policemen who were on duty at the San Pedro Police Station last Wednesday between of one and 7 a.m., but he remained at the station while the other three went on patrol duties in the town.
The guns, which are the property of KBH security, are kept locked along with a log book in a metal chest inside the police station.
One of Wade’s colleagues, Police Constable Juan Cho, received the weapons on Wednesday night when the KBH guard took them for storage and Cho, reports indicate, supervised the deposit of the weapons inside the chest and signed the log book along with the KBH guard who delivered them.
The guard then locked the weapons, ammunition and log book inside the chest and left the station.
On Thursday (Labour Day) when KBH guards, in their routine line of duty, went to the station to retrieve the weapons they noticed that eight .38 calibre revolvers and 101 bullets were missing.
The padlock that secured the chest was still in tact and locked, leading investigators to believe that whoever stole the weapons picked the lock open and re-locked it when they were finished.
Investigators began to suspect Wade because he called in sick that Thursday claiming that he and his young son had to seek medical attention for food poisoning. He took his approved time-off to travel to Belize City that day where police believe he began to arrange for the sale of the stolen weapons.
When police showed up at his girlfriend’s family home on Friday night, they discovered two of the guns – one tucked among old scraps in the yard and another in the ceiling of a neighbouring barber shop.
Information reaching this newspaper says that police are working to track down the remaining missing guns, which investigators believe are already in the hands of members of a particular street gang.
Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd, who spoke with reporters following the search at the residence, criticised the way police detained the family members unnecessarily for 48 hours before releasing them .
This, she said, created some health issues for Wade’s pregnant girlfriend. She also pointed to the fact that the locations where police discovered the weapons were open spaces accessible to anyone.
When Wade appeared in court almost at the close of the workday on Monday, he pleaded not guilty to nine counts of theft of firearm, two counts of keeping guns without a license and two counts of keeping ammunition without a license.
Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith remanded him to prison until June 5th.
Wade beat a criminal charge of carnal knowledge in the past.
At the time of his arrest, he had been working at the San Pedro Police Station for a little over one year.