Couple on trial over $500k jewellery store heist

| 27/02/2018
Cayman News Service, jewellery store heist

Mitzi’s Fine Jewelry, Grand Cayman

(CNS): Madeinys Ebanks-Pol (39) and Adrian Adela Gea (33) appeared in Grand Court Monday facing trial for a robbery that happened more than two years ago, in which around half a million dollars worth of jewellery was taken and has never been recovered. Ebanks-Pol was a former employee of Mitzi’s Fine Jewelry store on the West Bay Road and the crown said she conspired with Gea to rob the shop in a daylight heist around lunchtime on 18 November 2015. Gea is also charged with possession of an imitation gun, as he is said to be the armed man who entered the store when a member of staff was there alone.

The crown told the court Monday that Gea, armed with a handgun, smashed the display cabinets and took the valuable and unique jewellery collection before fleeing the scene in a blue car. Ebanks-Pol, who had been fired from the store just days before, is accused of helping to organise the crime and playing lookout.

Gea was arrested shortly after the stick-up after the police helicopter tracked his vehicle to West Bay, where he was seen parked outside his home before he took off again. An armed unit on the ground followed him and stopped the car he was driving, which had false plates.

The police recovered a black top, gloves and a mask from the car, which were later linked by DNA to Gea and matched the description of the clothes worn by the robber. A cell phone battery which the crown said Gea had taken from the employee’s phone during the robbery was also found in his car, along with glass fragments that were associated with the cabinets smashed by the robber. Police also recovered the car’s real plates from the trunk.

During the heist the CCTV cameras had been smashed and the hard drive stolen, so prosecutors said they had no footage but had based their case on forensic and circumstantial evidence. Following his arrest, Gea made no comment during his interview with the arresting officers.

Ebanks-Pol was not arrested until much later but came to the attention of the police the following day when she had turned up at a condo in North Side telling visitors she had been kidnapped. Soaking wet, suffering from mild dehydration with some bruising on her face, she was taken to hospital.

She told police that she had gone to Mitzi’s store to get her pay on the day of the robbery but when she arrived, the owner was not there so she left. She claimed that as she did so, she was accosted by an armed man, who pushed her into the car she had arrived in, which was a rental vehicle, and made her drive to the area of Pappagallo restaurant in West Bay. She told police that she was then blindfolded and driven to a house, but she did not know where it was. Some time later she was taken to another location.

Ebanks-Pol said that her blindfold was removed and she was left on a beach, which turned out to be near Rum Point. The kidnapper then told her to walk into the water and count to 100 before turning around, which she told police she had done before going to a nearby condo to ask for help.

Given the twists and turns in the case, it was almost a year before the couple was actually charged.

The trial, which is being heard by visiting judge, Justice Stephen Hellman, sitting alone, is expected to last two weeks.


Category: Courts, Crime

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