ORANJESTAD, Aruba ( Thursday, September 15, 2011) — One of the two fugitive men who had robbed the branch of the Caribbean Mercantile Bank (CMB) on Tuesday morning at the Reina Beatrix airport, is possibly apprehended. Although this news was announced right before this edition went to press stated the Amigoe, the police are yet to confirm this. One of the scooters used after the raid as means of escape was recovered earlier. According to the police, the perpetrators have stolen a large amount.
The raid occurred shortly after the branch opened. According to reports, three customers and four employees were inside the branch at that moment. Police state two men entered the branch, threatened those inside with a firearm to get down. The personnel had to hand over the money. According to reports, the vault was open at that time so the raiders were able to escape with a considerable amount of money. Other media mention an amount well over 600,000 florins. However, before this newspaper went to press, the CMB was unable to comment on the amount stolen. By his own account, director Javier Wolter was in conversation with the police and would return the call later.
After the raid, the perpetrators fled on two scooters. The police state that although they arrived at the scene quickly they were unable to bar the raiders’ way. A search for the perpetrators was held in the surrounding but had not yielded any result. Officers eventually discovered one of the scooters in the Wayaca district. Victim relief arrived at the scene to assist the bank employees in coming to terms with this traumatic incident, according to the police. Spokesperson Papito Comenencia emphasizes that the raiders had not covered their face. The criminal investigators and the raid team are investigating the case. Witnesses and persons with relevant information are requested to contact the police: telephone number 100 or via the tip line 11141.
Other media reported this morning that the bank’s security system was not functioning properly. One of the bank employees pressed the special alarm button during the raid. After the alarm went off at Security company Safecom, they phoned the CMB branch to check whether it was a false alarm. According to several media, Safecom continued to phone until someone answered. However, this was only possible after the raiders had left. The security company subsequently called in the police. However, director Felix Fingal of Safecom states before this newspaper that this story is not entirely correct. “It’s standard procedure to phone the customer if the alarm goes off because there are many false alarms. However, when we phoned CMB the first time, they answered immediately and mentioned the raid.” Safecom had subsequently called in the police and sent an own patrol car to the bank.
In a first reaction, the Aruba Airport Authority (AAA) states they regret this had happened. As far as spokesperson Hendrik Croes knows, this is the first time a company at the airport was a victim of a raid. “We had not expected this,” says Croes. It natural for an airport to take security seriously, he explains. “There are cameras everywhere, security guards walking and driving around and officers of the police corps are always at the airport.” It is therefore an unlikely location for a raid. For that matter, CBM is the only bank with a branch at the airport and the RBTT Bank has PIN machine. According to Croes, the raid had not inconvenienced the travelers. “Fortunately, it happened at a quiet moment.” According to Croes, the airport was not closed at any time and the raid had not led to any delays.
By way of precaution, CMB decided yesterday to take extra safety measures at their other branches. Customers were only allowed entrance in limited numbers, this newspaper discovered at the head office on the main street and at the branch in Noord. The limited number of customers applied for the cash services and for those with an appointment. Only when a customer for the service in question left, did the security guard allow the next customer to enter. The bank could not say on Wednesday how long this safety measures would continue.