Couple held at gunpoint in house break-in
A woman was held hostage at gunpoint in Harmony Hill, off Village Road, on Tuesday while a man who was accompanying her was forced to an automatic teller machine (ATM) machine to withdraw cash, police confirmed.
Police said the woman and man went to a relative’s home at that location to feed a dog when they noticed that a lock had been tampered with and someone was inside.
Two armed men ordered them inside the home, police said.
The man was then taken to the bank machine. He was returned to Harmony Hill by his assailant, and the home was stripped of flat screen TVs, police also confirmed.
The Nassau Guardian understands that a quick thinking member of the crime watch group in nearby Blair Estates noticed something amiss.
The crime watch member reportedly radioed police. Together, Blair Crime Watch and police blocked the road and the criminals’ car, according to reports.
The two robbers reportedly escaped through the back door, leaving the couple unharmed but traumatized, according to reports reaching The Guardian.
Tuesday’s hold-up is just one in a string of home invasions and car thefts that has plagued the area in recent months.
Superintendent Stephen Dean, who heads the National Crime Prevention Office, said police received the call about the incident just before 2 p.m.
Dean said Member of Parliament for the area, Loretta Butler-Turner, has sought assistance from the police in improving anti-crime efforts in the area.
“Police pay attention to everything of concern, particularly to an area like this where we know that incidents do not normally occur. But when we see a trend it raises some eyebrows,” Dean said.
“We have noticed sporadic housebreakings. What we are seeing more is the housebreakers in some cases are armed.”
Residents are upset at increased crime that has raged through their community since summer.
Some of them complained that most of the incidents haven’t been reported by the police and that the police are ineffective.
“Why haven’t all these terrible things in Blair been in the news? Now this. People have to be alerted so that they will keep their doors and windows locked,” one woman commented. Harmony Hill feeds into Blair through Ryswick Road.
Just last week, a driver was reportedly almost forced off Harmony Hill by would-be bandits.
She managed to escape and flag down help, The Guardian learnt. The woman thinks she was followed home from a bank in Palmdale.
A growing number of residents feel stronger action is needed in view of the failure by police to get a handle on the problem. There’s talk of forming vigilante groups to protect against the steady stream of home invasions and car thefts that has plagued the area, The Guardian understands.
A number of months ago, a woman was reportedly attacked with a knife in her Blair home at 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and had to be rushed into surgery, bleeding profusely.
Not long after, two young women were robbed at gunpoint at 10:45 on a Friday night. They’d just fed a friend’s dog and were about to leave when the robber appeared from nowhere, according to reports.
“It’s become a free-for-all for criminals. It’s like the law-abiding citizens have lost the right to security,” a resident of the area complained.
Like other nice communities on the island, Blair seems to have become a magnet for thieves and armed robbers.
Responding to suggestions of vigilante justice, a resident, who supports 24-hour citizen patrols, said people no longer feel safe in their own neighborhood.
One resident reported her home was recently broken into around 3 p.m. She feels the intruder was watching her home and broke in after a family member left. Steel doors and doors with high security dead-bolts had been smashed in.
In the heart of Blair in the middle of the day, on November 1, a home was entered and a 52” flat screen TV stolen, The Guardian learnt.
At a house on nearby Ryswick Road, thieves recently broke in and stole a flat screen TV one morning at 11:30 a.m. A grey/blue car was seen near the house with a woman in the driver’s seat and the car doors open, according to reports.
Between October 21 and 22, a Honda — sophisticated wheel lock firmly secured — simply disappeared. This is one of several cars that were stolen in recent times.
Around the corner on Harmony Hill, someone tried to break into two cars during the same period.
Some residents blame the police for allowing an environment to exist in which criminals flourish. They point to insufficient patrols and zero sting operations to restore law and order.
Others feel the police are simply overwhelmed by the level of criminal activity on the island.
Said one resident: “It’s all over the place. This island is gone.”
Dean said now is the time for crime watch groups to work more closely with police.
“We believe that based on some of the descriptions we have been getting, that we should be able to find out who these persons are and [whether] they are operating as a group or operating independently,” he said.
Several days ago, The Guardian reported on increased crime in The Grove off West Bay Street, where similar incidents have occurred in recent weeks.