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Police warn of criminals lurking behind the Post Office

Police warn of criminals lurking behind the Post Office

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The Police are asking students and the public at large to be mindful of potential criminals that may be lurking around, and to exercise caution as they go about their daily business through Kingstown.{{more}}

The advice comes in response to the recent reports of secondary school students being robbed.

According to Frank Jones, Headmaster of the St Vincent Grammar School, the most recent incident occurred last Friday, February 18.

Jones told SEARCHLIGHT that there was an attempt to rob one of his students at around 1:30 pm in the area of the former Electoral Office on Egmont Street in Kingstown.

In that incident, Jones said that the students were making their way back to the school when they were approached by two young men who were standing in the area.

Jones said that the student reported that one of the young men pushed him against the wall (that of the back of the National Commercial Bank), while holding him at the neck.

It was further reported that the perpetrator then put his hand into the student’s pocket, taking out his cellular phone, and then into the other pocket, in an attempt to relieve the student of his money.

It was at this point, Jones indicated, that the student began screaming, which eventually drew the attention of persons who were in the immediate vicinity.

The Headmaster, however, said that as persons started showing concern, the perpetrator tried to pass off the incident as though the student was holding something belonging to him (the perpetrator).

The scene ended with the student getting away without suffering any loss, but Jones said that last Friday’s attempted robbery came on the heels of another one which occurred in the vicinity of the Thompson Home and the school.

This incident occurred last Monday, February 14, around 5 pm.

In that incident, the student was relieved of his phone.

Jones further explained that the problem was of grave concern, as there had been a number of reports coming in of his students being robbed, with the majority of them occurring in the area behind the General Post Office and the bus stop across from the National Lotteries Authority’s tennis court.

He said that there had been a number of reports made last year, one of which resulted in serious trauma on the part of the victim.

When asked to give a precise number of reported incidents, Jones suggested that there may have been more than what had been reported.

“Some reported reluctantly because they had been threatened that if they did, there would be reprisals,” Jones told SEARCHLIGHT.

He further explained the way in which the bandits operated, saying that often they approached the student as though they were a friend.

But the situation is serious, Jones contended, as in some instances weapons had been brandished during the altercation.

It was also noted that the bandits are lured by the attraction of mobile phones and other electronic devices.

But the situation is not unique to students of the Grammar School.

The Headmistress of the nearby Girls’ High School and the Principal of the Intermediate High School told SEARCHLIGHT that they had not received any reports of similar acts being committed against any of their students.

However, John Renton, Principal of the Thomas Saunders Secondary, confirmed that he had received reports of acts of robberies being committed against students from that institution.

Renton told SEARCHLIGHT that while there had not been any reported incidents within recent times, he confirmed that students from his institution had made reports that electronic devices had been stolen from them.

Those incidents were reported to have occurred in the vicinity of the bus stop at the NLA tennis court, as was pointed out by the Grammar School Headmaster.

When contacted, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Lenroy Brewster said that he had received reports of acts of robberies in the past.

He added that the majority took place at the bus stop outside the Peace Memorial Hall and behind the Post Office.

ACP Brewster said that the issue is being addressed through increased foot patrols.

He, however, cautioned persons to be aware of persons around them.

“We have had instances where persons may ask to make a cell phone call and the unsuspecting victim hands over the phone and the persons take off,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

He also recommended that persons avoid dark alleys and that women secure their hand bags.

Meanwhile, Jones said that the matter has been put to the executive of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of his school and he will be approaching the police for any further recommendations.

He noted that there had been an upsurge in the numbers of students from the school being robbed a few years ago, but the then president of the PTA met with ACP Brewster, which led to the increased foot patrols.

Jones said that while he does not have an issue with the prompt response of the police, there was the need for “consistent police presence.”

“Because we do have an increase in the proliferation of these electronic gadgets, and we see that as an attraction for the bandits,” he explained.

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