Thanks to V.I. Police Department officers’ quick and thorough work last week, a Cruz Bay business owner’s stolen property was back in her possession within a matter of hours.
The efficient police work also led to the apprehension of the alleged thief and a person who allegedly bought some of the stolen property later that very morning. Edward
Richards, 29, of Estate Power Boyd and Mariano Amaro, 40, of Estate Enighed were both arrested on March 1 and charged with possession of stolen property.
The business owner had left her purse in her unlocked car for only about 10 minutes as she opened her business on Tuesday morning, March 1. It was around 8:30 a.m. when she realized her bag was missing.
“I thought I had brought it inside the shop or something but then I realized it was gone,” said the business owner. “I went to the police station around 9 a.m. to see if anyone had turned in a purse.”
The resident talked to Officer Williams, who was on duty at the Leander Jurgen Command desk, and would be the first of several very helpful VIPD officials to work on the case, the business owner explained.
The victim may have let the situation rest at that, but Julius E. Sprauve School monitor Shawn Frett advised her to report the purse stolen and see if any surveillance video had caught the thief, she explained.
“Mr. Frett was so nice and made a phone call to see if they could look at the film,” said the victim. “I went back to the police station to see if there was any footage and to report the bag stolen.”
When she returned to the Cruz Bay station, VIPD Detective Vincent, Officer Jennings, Sgt. Thomas, and Officers Mills and Douglas all assisted with the utmost of professionalism and courtesy, the victim explained.
“They were really friendly and really efficient and dedicated to the matter,” she said. “The video camera didn’t show anything, but they were all very helpful.”
A short while later, the victim was talking to a few people, including Department of Public Works St. John Deputy Director Ira Wade, in front of the old Subway location when Richards approached her and tried to sell her the very bag which had gone missing just about two hours before, except with nothing inside of it.
“He was holding a plastic bag and my purse was inside of it,” said the victim. “I didn’t know what to do. I asked him how much money he wanted and said I didn’t have any right then.”
Wade offered to go get some cash to purchase the empty bag and darted into the VIPD station, the victim explained.
As Wade went to alert police, Richards grew suspicious, the business owner added.
“He said, ‘You don’t get money in the police station,’ and started walking down the street really fast,” she said.
Several VIPD officers were making their way out of Leander Jurgen Command just as Officers Mills and Douglas were walking up the street from the area of FirstBank, the victim explained.
“The police responded so quickly,” she said. “He wasn’t running, but he was walking really fast. They picked him up down in front of the church.”
Although Richards originally maintained that he had only found the purse on a wall in Cruz Bay, persistent interrogation got the truth out of him within an hour, according to the business owner.
“He finally admitted that my stuff — makeup, credit cards, my driver’s license — was in a bathroom in a bar in Cruz Bay,” she said.
Sure enough, VIPD officials recovered the business owner’s personal effects wrapped neatly in a little bundle and stored under a cabinet in the bathroom of a Cruz Bay bar, the victim explained.
The victim only had a few dollars in the wallet, but of more importance was an expensive bracelet which was missing. Richards led VIPD to Amaro at the Cruz Bay ferry dock to whom he had recently sold the bracelet, the victim explained.
“They went down and recovered the bracelet and arrested both of them,” said the victim, who had all of the stolen property back in her possession by 11:30 a.m.
“The police were so fast in getting everything back to me,” said the business owner. “This wasn’t a huge crime, but they were dedicated to solving it and they saw it through to the end. They were really efficient and worked hard on this.”
“A lot of people complain about the police and say they don’t come, but that is not true,” said the victim. “If something happens, call them and give them a chance. They will help and work hard.”
Bail for both suspects was set at $10,000 each and they were remanded to the Bureau of Corrections on St. Thomas pending further court action.
VIPD Commissioner Novelle Francis reminded the public that when someone exits a vehicle to always lock the doors, even if they are going to be gone for only a few minutes.