Three masked men wearing gloves, entered the Beach Plaza Casino on Wednesday June 4th. The assumption is that they made their entrance through a vent in the roof.
Two persons were bound and gag, one manager was beaten. Those present believe that the men had been waiting inside the building.
With construction going on next door, a weak link in the Casino’s security might have been discovered.
The cleaning staff, who were the first to show up, were the first to be bound, gagged and held captive by the robbers.
A bar helper who had arrived at the casino around 8:30am also was restrained by the bandits towards the back of the building. The bar helper also was tied, mouth taped and blindfolded.
When a manger arrived at work about an hour later, apparently to get things in place for the day’s business, the bandits forced him to open the main door to the office so they could gain access to money to steal. During the process the manager was beaten and suffered a broken nose, amongst other things. He was treated on the scene later and transported to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), where he remained up to early last night receiving medical treatment.
The robbery attempt was foiled when someone started opening the front entrance of the casino and the robbers fled empty-handed through the side (back) door of the facility.
A security guard who had been in the building during the entire incident, but towards the front of the casino, was unaware of the three robbers’ presence towards the back of the building and everything that was transpiring.
It could not be ascertained how the robbers had gained access to the building. However, widespread reports after the incident said they had entered via the roof, which was searched when police arrived on the scene.
The police, members of the SWAT team and the police dog swooped down on the casino just before 10:00am. Unconfirmed reports state that a passerby had heard screams from the manager coming from inside the casino and called the police.
When law enforcement arrived on the scene it was believed initially that the robbers were still inside the building. The casino was surrounded and the entire area cordoned off.
Police spokesperson Chief Inspector Ricardo Henson said the area had been cordoned off for security reasons. Members of the SWAT team could be seen entering the building in protective gear with their weapons drawn. Henson said the building had been searched thoroughly, but nothing had been found.
Officers also were seen checking the roof of the casino. The building was declared safe after 30 to 45 minutes of searching. Henson said no one had been found during the search.
A group of spectators gathered at a safe distance to witness the situation unfold while the search was in progress. Traffic was backed up in all directions and had to be rerouted during the entire incident.
This is the second time Beach Plaza Casino has been robbed in less than a year. The casino was targeted by armed robbers during the early morning hours in November last year.
page10a017Officers investigating that robbery spoke to the manager and the security guard who said at the time that a small white vehicle with “heavily tinted” windows had stopped in front of the establishment around 8:00am and two armed men dressed in white and black with black masks had jumped out of the vehicle and followed the manager and security guard into the building.
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