Guardian photographer robbed at gunpoint

Nassau Guardian photographer Codel Newton was robbed at gunpoint by a group of seven boys shortly after leaving his home in the vicinity of Claridge Road around 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Although the incident was not in the RBPF’s daily crime report yesterday morning, police have since confirmed that they received the report and are actively investigating. 

“It was terrifying,” Newton said yesterday as he recalled the events.

“I don’t want to live around there anymore. I never felt it was a dangerous area until now.”

Newton, 19, a Grand Bahama native, said he was walking through a park to get a ride to work when he noticed a group of seven boys walking behind him. He said the boys seemed to be between 13 to 17 years old, and believes that at least two of them were armed during the attack. 

He said the ordeal began when one of the boys called out to ask him if he was “T.J.”

When he told them no, the boys then demanded money; and when he told them he had no money, one of the younger ones then pulled on his jacket to stop him, he said. 

At that point, Newton said the group started getting aggressive as the youngster who had grabbed his jacket demanded that he remove it. As he refused, he said the “oldest” boy grabbed his cellphone out of his hand and demanded the password. 

“I said, ‘No, I’m not giving you my phone password – you took it out my hand so clearly you know the password,’” Newton said. “And that’s when he pulled out the gun, but I still didn’t give him the password.

“The youngest one, he grabbed my bag off me. Then, the oldest one took my jacket off, and this is when I felt another weapon – I know it was a gun – on my side. So, I said [to myself], okay let me just take the jacket off.”

Newton said he was robbed of approximately $9,000 worth of equipment including two cameras, camera lenses, his cellphone, a wallet containing approximately $50 cash and his jacket. 

He said he sought assistance from a group of men he found playing Dominos in the area, but after cautiously looking around, one of the men told him he “better go somewhere else to call the police”. 

Ultimately, Newton was able to make it to the nearby workplace of a relative who then took him to the police station. On the way, he said, they passed the park and witnessed the group of boys still on the scene and going through his belongings. However, they did not wish to approach the group due to the firearms.

By the time a police patrol car returned to the scene half an hour later, Newton said the group and his belongings were already gone. 

According to Newton, the officer driving the patrol car seemed familiar with the group, and allegedly told him that police were in particular looking for “the one with the gun”. Newton also claimed that while he was waiting at the police station, he heard a call come in about exactly the same group.

However, the assistant superintendent at the Wulff Road police station yesterday claimed the force was unaware of a group of seven youngsters terrorizing anyone, aside from Newton’s report. He also declined to comment on why the incident was not included in the RBPF’s daily crime report.

An inspector in the RBPF’s public relations office said the incident was not on the report received from control and the Central Detective Unit, which is used to generate the daily crime report, and that is why it was not on it; but he also said it could have been a miscommunication “for whatever reason” and said it could occur anywhere in the world. 

Although Newton said it was frustrating that it took police 30 minutes to be able to return to the scene, he feels confident in the efforts that are being made. 

“I mean, [Sunday] night they did look around for about an hour and 30 minutes, so I feel like they really wanted to find them,” Newton said. 

“I don’t know if they wanted to find them because of my situation, but I feel like it’s because they got so much reports on it that they were really fed up. [The officer driving] was like he really, really wants to find them.”

Despite tracking his cellphone to an isolated area surrounded by abandoned buildings, Newton’s items have not been recovered.

He said he plans on moving to another area as soon as possible.

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