Robber pointed gun in bar owner’s face

| 19/09/2018 | 0 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The owner of the Czech Inn bar and restaurant in Bodden Town told the court on Wednesday that an armed masked robber pointed a 9mm beretta in his face during a stick-up of his business in March this year. Appearing as a crown witness in the trial of Odain Ebanks (23), Jeri “George” Zitterbart recounted details of the ordeal when his business was targeted by two armed men. Ebanks, who denies being one of the men involved in the joint criminal enterprise, pleaded not guilty to robbery and other charges in connection with the armed heist, which ended in a shoot-out with the police in Prospect.

The crown’s case, presented by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran, is that Ebanks was one of the robbers who entered the restaurant at around 11pm, a few minutes after the last customer had left and as the owner, his wife, son and two members of staff were cleaning up.

The first masked man to enter was armed with a handgun. He fired a bullet into the wall before demanding cash from the register and pointed the weapon in the owner’s face. Zitterbart told the court that while he was not afraid for himself, he was concerned for his family and told the robber to just take the money and go.

armed robbery, Cayman News Service

Odain Ebanks

As he went to open the register, a second, much shorter masked man, who the crown says was Ebanks, entered the restaurant and used pepper spray on Zitterbart, before the two masked men grabbed the cash drawer and fled the premises. Zitterbart was unable to get the registration of the robbers’ getaway car but he said that they escaped in an old burgundy Honda CRV.

He called 911, and a short time later police officers spotted a car fitting the description in Savannah and began following it. The police said the men in the vehicle were wearing masks.

The officers gave chase, and although they signalled with lights and sirens for the car to stop, the robbery suspects continued on, heading towards Prospect. The Honda turned down Victory Avenue, with the police on its tail, and came to a stop at a dead-end. As the suspects jumped out of the car, one of them turned and shot at the armed officers, who returned fire.

The robbers then ran into the bushes towards the water. Given the darkness and because at least one suspect was armed, the police officers opted not to pursue them, but called for back-up.

As they waited for additional officers, they searched the car and recovered a canister of pepper spray as well as the cash drawer from the Czech Inn, which contained a number of documents that, it was later confirmed, belonged to Zitterbart. The police also soon learned that the CRV had been reported stolen on the morning of the robbery.

Moran said that a forensic examination found Ebanks’ DNA on the pepper spray can and on the steering wheel of the getaway car.

However, before the police were aware of the forensic evidence that linked Ebanks to the car and pepper spray, the same officers who had given chase were involved in another investigation a few nights later where Ebanks was present.

One of the officers thought he recognised Ebanks from the evening of the robbery, and when he approached the suspect, without prompting, Ebanks raised the incident himself, asking the officer if he had been one of those “chasing people down”, because if he was he needed more target practice.

Ebanks was arrested after the DNA results were returned. He gave a no comment interview before he was charged.

The case continues.

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