Crown: CCTV and DNA tie men to bank robbery

| 08/11/2023
Robbery at Scotiabank at Grand Harbour, Cayman News Service
Crime scene officers at Scotiabank after the robbery

(CNS): CCTV footage of Richard Andre Scott and Mark Alexander Beckett and DNA on the seats and handlebars of the bikes they used will leave the jury in no doubt that the pair are guilty of robbing customers at the Scotiabank branch in South Sound last June, the prosecution has said. As crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson opened the case against the men on Tuesday, he said this key evidence would help the jury piece the truth together.

Briefly explaining the charges against the men, Ferguson said that the gun wasn’t necessarily fake, but because the police had never recovered it and no shots were fired during the stick-up, they were only able to charge them with possession of an imitation gun with intent to commit a crime. As he outlined what the crown believes happened that day, he said it was Beckett who brandished the gun as he and Scott burst into the cashless bank and demanded cash.

When they realised the bank tillers had no access to cash, the robbers turned on the customers, he said. But they were only able to grab money from one woman who had taken out $1,500 from an ATM machine just seconds before the robbers burst into the bank.

They then made their escape on bicycles, observed by the husband of the woman who had been robbed. After she ran out of the bank screaming and told him what had happened, he went in pursuit of the robbers and managed to knock Beckett off his bike. Beckett then scrambled into the bushes and was arrested later by police officers who had cordoned off the area where he was believed to be hiding.

Scott managed to escape, but later, when he was driving with a friend in her car, he was pulled over for a traffic infraction and arrested, and was soon linked to the robbery.

Both men have denied all of the charges. During police interviews, they denied being on bicycles the morning of the robbery, despite the CCTV footage. Scott even denied owning or using a bike at all.

The jury also heard from the first witness in the case, who outlined her ordeal to the jury. She explained that she was withdrawing cash from the ATM that day because she had to pay some of her staff who don’t have bank accounts. She had already taken out $1,500 but had re-entered the card to take out more because of the transaction limit. As the second request was being processed, she heard the commotion in the bank teller area.

She immediately noticed that one of the men was standing around five feet away from her by the door. He was armed with a .38 revolver, a weapon she recognised because the family had guns at a home in Florida and she had also taken gun safety classes in the US, the local business owner explained.

She described the ordeal as “horrifying and dramatic” while it was underway and said she felt numb. She explained how one of the robbers demanded cash, but the tellers were repeating that there was no cash at the bank. She described how one woman was on the floor and had emptied the contents of her bag to show that there was no money in it. She recalled how this robber was on the phone cursing in Jamaican.

But as she kept her eyes on the gunman, she said the other man came towards the ATM area. She described how he yanked her to the ground and jerked the cash she was holding from her hand. She then put her phone and wallet on the floor and put her hands on her head, all the while watching the robber with the gun. The robber then turned to another customer who had been attempting to use the second ATM, but he told the robber he couldn’t get money as it was not working.

The woman told the court that it seemed the men realised they were not going to get any more cash, and so they ran out of the bank. She, too, ran out after them screaming and told her husband, who was parked outside waiting for her, that she had been robbed. He asked her if it was the men on the bikes who were at that moment cycling away. When she said yes, he asked their child, who was in the car, to get out and he set off after them, the woman told the court.

The case continues.

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