By Ingrid Fernandez/ Staff Reporter
Police say the media and the public helped to solve the murder of well-known businessman, Ruben Perez, who was shot dead inside his business on Thursday afternoom.
Perez was shot at close range in his neck in a robbery attempt turned murder at his business establishment on Vernon Street, Belize City. Police have arrested two young men in relation to the crime.
Immediately after the murder, police forwarded the business’ security camera video with footage of the assault. The media cooperated by editing and airing the video and the public responded with information that led to the arrest of two youths, Keon Dennison and Tyron Reed.
One of the young men is from Maskall village, while the other is from Dangriga. Police arrested one of the perpetrators in a pre-dawn operation on Friday and the second later in the afternoon. Police say one of the culprits had Perez’ mobile phone when they arrested him. The two have no prior criminal background and ate of no relation to the deceased.
From their investigation, police were able to gather that the sole motive of what started as an assault was robbery and that the business place was randomly targeted.
The murder, police believe, resulted in murder as a result of the inexperience of the young men at criminal activity and the struggle that the businessman presented. The investigation has not been completed as yet to determine how the young men went about planning the crime.
Police believe that a non-resistant approach would have prevented the crime and advise people to value their lives over material possessions in the event of a robbery.
Commander of Eastern Division South, Senior Superintendent Chester Williams specifically thanked the media and the public for their assistance saying, “that assistance that they gave us was significant in the breakthrough that we got in the investigation. So it does show the cooperation between the police, the public and the media is a very good and healthy working relationship that we intend to maintain.”
The public’s assistance, said Williams, shows that the people still have faith in the police and they wish to enhance that trust with building a closer relationship with the people through the community policing programs.
Williams especially wished to reassure people during the busy Christmas season – a time when lack of finance may provoke the increase of criminal activity – that the police will increase their presence to ensure their safety during this time.
“come the 3rd of December, we commence our Christmas anti-crime campaign and that will see police officers flooding the streets of Belize City, in business areas, with a view to see how best to ensure that those persons who will be coming out to do their Christmas shopping feel safe doing so”, said Williams.
As for the reward that was offered in exchange for tips that might lead to an arrest, Williams stated that no one has claimed it since the information did not go through the 922 tips number that was provided, but directly to the police. The police is considering rewarding the persons who assisted generating money from business places or the police information funds.