By Marion V. Ali
Nine persons, including three women , who ironically are residents of Police Street, face a range of criminal charges for the home invasion of Sarkis Abou Nehra, Lebanon’s Honourary Consulate in Belize.
The incident took place between last Thursday night and Friday morning, at Burrell Boom village.
Three brothers: John Grinage, 26, Jerson Grinage, 23, and Sheldon Grinage, 24, along with Brandon Baptist, 30, Coast Guard member Randalph Coleman, 22, and Tyrone Meighan, 22, are charged jointly with aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit rape, handling stolen goods and theft.
Tyrone Meighan is additionally charged with rape upon the wife of Abou Nehra’s caretaker. He also faces an additional charge of uttering threatening words when at his arraignment, he pointed to a television camera and threatened to kill any Chinese man he meets upon his release from jail.
The three women: Crystal Augustine, 24, Kemira Cacho, 24, and Ashanti Roches, 19, are charged along with the men with handling stolen goods, after police found some of the stolen items in their possession.
Two people , who were at the residence alone, after the 77 year-old diplomat had left on a business trip to Lebanon, were taken by surprise around 8 p.m. on Thursday, when the intruders men pounced.
They severely beat the man, raped his wife in his presence, and using heavy duty equipment they cut open metal safes to steal around $13,000 in mixed currency notes, jewelry, and four high-powered weapons.
To crown their act the men removed video camera equipment, which recorded the hours-long heist, then stole Abou Nehra’s Mercedes SUV to flee.
Officer Commanding the Police Department’s Eastern Division Rural, Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster told reporters this week that it was a policeman’s quick wit and intuition that led to the arrest and discovery of the stolen items.
The defendants were reportedly at the Blue House Bar in Ladyville when police searched them and a Suzuki Vitara SUV which they had parked nearby. The search of the vehicle yielded some of the stolen items, Broaster said.
Broaster reveal that prior to the incident, police had visited the area on several occasions after they received reports of suspicious people scouting around. They had questioned two youths earlier on Thursday evening and two others on Wednesday, but had no basis on which to charge them with a crime. Police say the culprits studied the area carefully before they made their move.
The guns stolen include a Sig Sauer 9 millimeter pistol, a Mossberg Pump action 12 gauge shotgun, a Browning 9 millimeter pistol, a Luger 9 millimeter pistol, a Pietrro Berreta single action shotgun, and a Remington .22 rifle. Police are offering a reward for the recovery of the guns.
The nine persons charged were all remanded to the Hattieville Prison until January 14, 2016.
Consul Abou Nehra was grazed by a bullet when his residence come under a similar attack in 2005.