$30,000 reward for info on huge arms heist at Price Barracks Print
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 13 October 2011 00:00

Ministry, BDF and police personnelThe Ministry of Defense called a press conference at Price Barracks on Wednesday evening to inform the media that there was a security breach at the Price Barracks compound and a number of small arms and high powered rifles were stolen.

Allen Whylie, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Defense, said it is a devastating breach and the Ministry will leave no stones unturned to get to the bottom of the heist. The discovery was made at about 10:20 a.m. on Wednesday, October 12th, during a visit to the building by Belize Defense force personnel. It was discovered that two of the five weapon bays were broken into. The hasp and staple with padlocks had been cut and weapons were missing. The Ministry was informed at about 11 a.m. and the incident was reported to the Belize Police Department. Teams were dispatched from Ladyville and Belize City to respond to the scene of the crime and initial investigations revealed that (22) twenty-two M16 A1 rifles, (2) two M4 Colt Commando Rifles, (11) eleven 9 mm Beretta Pistols and (7) seven M4 Carbine rifles were taken. The M-16 and M4 Colt Commando rifles are labeled unserviceable; meaning some can only be used for parts and others would take an expert’s service to repair. However, the pistols and high powered M4 Carbines are serviceable and could be used.

The weapon bays are used to store unserviceable weapons or weapons that are being prepared for distribution. It is all the way to the back of the compound and inspections are conducted on the bays weekly. BDF personnel did not confirm a time frame between the last inspection of the bays and the time the breach was discovered. Such a daring burglary leaves many to suspect that it was an inside job or, at the very least, the culprits had to be familiar with the compound. Whylie chose not to speculate on whether it was an inside job or not. He did lay out the measures taken to get to the bottom of it. The Crimes Investigation Branch of the police department will conduct the criminal investigation and the BDF will also conduct an internal investigation. The Minister of Defense, Hon. Carlos Perdomo, has ordered that a Court of Inquiry be commissioned. The law enforcement officers are also calling on the public to help with the investigation in order to get the weapons off the streets. A reward of $30,000 is being offered by the Government of Belize for information leading to the recovery of the weapons.

Whylie said that several measures have been taken to ensure such a breach never happens again. The weapons bay will be secured 24 hours a day by soldiers of the force. Additional locks will be placed on the doors of the bays. Camera surveillance will likely be installed and the rear fence of the compound will be repaired and strengthened. More measures will be revealed upon the completion of the Court of Inquiry. Anyone with information leading to the recovery of the weapons is asked to call the Crime Stoppers hotline at 922 TIPS or call confidential numbers at 610-5905, 610-3948 or 600-7060.