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Leslie Miller Uses Shotgun At Store Site

By DANA SMITH

Tribune Staff Reporter

dsmith@tribunemedia.net

A PLP MP fired shots in the direction of what he believed to be two fleeing copper thieves after an estimated half a million dollars worth of “utter destruction” was caused to a Robin Hood store.

Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller took action after he and police officers found two men on Robin Hood property yesterday morning. He suspected them to have been the copper thieves.

“We went out there and these two guys are out there,” he said. “When we opened the door, they ran out and we ran behind them. We ran after them for about 200 or 300 yards. I didn’t have my shotgun in my hand – but by the time I started shooting they were already through the bush.”

He said the latest raid in a string of copper-thefts at the Tonique Williams-Darling Highway store has forced the permanent closure of that location.

The store has been robbed of copper twice before in the past, but this time, Mr Miller said, thieves removed every single piece of copper from several areas in the store. He said he believes it might have happened over the last two or three days.

He said: “They have gone way beyond what they did the first and second time. This time they have stripped everything. You have to see it to believe it. The police say they have never seen it this bad anywhere else. Total destruction.”

The suspected thieves left behind cutting tools, Mr Miller said, explaining the country’s long-standing, copper-theft problem is affecting “all the business places in this country.”

“This is a menace to this society,” he said. “I also blame the exporters. They are the ones who are aiding and abetting these criminals. They are as bad as the ones who thief the copper. They know that the Bahamas does not produce copper.

“They know that the copper they buy from these guys is stolen copper. They know that. There’s no question about that. They just as bad as the robbers because they know it’s stolen goods, they know it’s destroying businesses.”

Mr Miller is calling for ban on copper exports, not just because of the thefts he suffered, but for all the businesses in the country who have struggled as a result of copper theft.

“I appeal to Minister Halkitis. You promised us faithfully during the budget debate that you all were going to ban copper. Dr Bernard Nottage, the Minister for National Security, has urged the banning of an export,” he said.

“They must look at the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is you must look out for the welfare of the majority and not the few. I’m begging the government, this time; I’m demanding they put a stop to it... Please stop the exportation of copper. Close them down. Ban it. We’re not asking you to ban scrap metal, we’re simple asking you to ban one item – copper.”

Mr Miller added: “It brought me almost to tears when I went out there and saw the destruction. You have to see it to believe it. Utter destruction. At least a half a million dollars has to be spent to replace those products. And you know what bothers me, all the stuff they stole – they wouldn’t get $1,000 from the junk-yard people. Not even $1,000.”

Mr Miller confirmed this highway location of the grocery store will not be reopened: “Robin Hood won’t be open any more. It’s useless even thinking about it. In fact, I wouldn’t advise any businessmen in this country to go into any sort of business with copper, until and unless the government steps to the plate and bans the export of copper.”

Comments

TalRussell 6 years, 8 months ago

Shocking that someone would fire bullets at someone 'fleeing" away from them and not according to this story, endangering someone's life. Is this really what the policeman's want to be encouraging citizens to do, to be firing bullets wildly at "fleeing" suspects? Pretty damn scarey for all Bahamalanders, if we want citizens arming themselves and wildly firing bullets into the bushes. Comrades this is not law and order. It's plain recklessness bordering on a society which is about to explode and with the help of people who should know damn better. Really "Pot cake" firing bullets into the bushes? All for the sake of protecting some copper. Copper that must be worth more than even human lives. Really? Wonder what the Commish will have to say about this wild firing of bullets into the bushes, maybe aimed directly at "fleeing' suspects, or just maybe into the heart of someone innocently taking a leak in the bushes?

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JohnDoes 6 years, 8 months ago

So what if it was you comrade Tal, Im sure you are more intelligent than that. If you come home or to your business and find thieves running away from destroying your property and with all your hard earned assets and you have licensed weapon on hand, are you not going to use it? Who said he was firing bullets wildly, were you there? Why would someone be in the back there by Robin Hood/Marios "innocently taking a leak in the bushes" That 'bushes' is property that belongs to somebody. As far as Mr. Miller knows, his weapon is licensed and he is firing in the direction of the thieves and, so what if they get injured or killed. That is the risk that these thieves take. They are thieves, not persons to have compassion for.

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javiebenz 6 years, 8 months ago

Watch yourself mr. MP, sounds like you're taking a personal matter into your own hands, why you have to fire shots at those guys if the police is already there & to make matters worst you're firing at persons who are fleeing..your life wasn't in any form of danger, you should be reprimanded yourself..smfh

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JohnDoe 6 years, 8 months ago

I can understand Mr. Miller's apparent frustration but I do not understand his alleged behavior. If Mr. Miller's version of the story is correct, then it would not, in my view, be unreasonable to expect the Commissioner of Police to bring charges against Mr. Miller and the police officers invloved for their actions. To discharge a firearm at "fleeing" individuals who you "suspect" are copper thieves, endangering innocent lives is just plain wrong and combined with a public admission of his intent in the press may very well meet the criteria for a crime. What if Mr. Miller had actually shot and killed one of those "fleeing" individuals. I guess he would have been standing his ground in self-defence. C'Mon man.

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TalRussell 6 years, 8 months ago

Comrade "Pot cake" Leslie only had to "believe" the two were "fleeing," before he was ready to pronounce the "death penalty". His version of, you mess with my copper and risk dying by my one-man firing squad. Guilty or not, wouldn't you run for the bushes, if you saw an shotgun armed "Pot cake" coming your way? Common sense would say that the very second he fired the first bullet at the two fleeing, who he but "believed" to be "attempting" to steal his copper, he displayed a reckless intent to kill. All in the presence of policeman's? How did the policeman's happen be there at the scene? I hope the PM is also paying attention to his BEC Chairman? Can you imagine what it must be like to attempt to negotiate worker contracts with this "self-described" BEC "Pot cake?" I wouldn't. He, not I, says they two were already well into the bushes, before the first bullet left his shotguns barrel. Recklessness is an understatement.

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JohnDoes 6 years, 8 months ago

Tal, Mr Miller was interviewed and said that he saw the two guys running from his building where they eventually discovered was vandalized. Anyone responsible enough to have a licensed firearm knows who to fire it at especially in this case. I mean the government just does not give out gun licenses like drivers licenses. There is a lot of investigation involved before you can even be considered eligible to own a gun. The government knows the liability of arming the public, and these licenses are very hard to come by. Mr Miller acted in the right way.

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getrightbahamas 6 years, 8 months ago

wow. 1/2 million gon and the biased tribune can only see that leslie shot his gun. u can tell where yall hear is.

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JohnDoes 6 years, 8 months ago

Its Funny how this is yesterday's news. I condone Leslie Miller for firing at those thieves. The thieves have no right to be on his property and no right to be stealing thousands of dollars worth of copper. He has a right to do what he did. I think that it could even be some of those former and/or current BEC workers because they know exactly where the copper is and how steal it, even from those high voltage components. The lousy police take hours to arrive anyway and by time they arrive, they only take notes/evidence and then you never hear from them or about your incident again. It is the government that is to be blamed for even allowing the export of copper and we don't even produce it. That's why the thieves are encouraged to steal it. It is easy money. The thieves now a days are disrespectful and blatant and if they are doing this in broad daylight it really shows how the morality in this country is lost. Even the churches are being targeted. This country for sale is going down, deeper than hell.

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JohnDoe 6 years, 8 months ago

One of the reasons this country is in its current state, particularly as it relates to crime, is that too many of our citizens are quick to make excuses or condone criminal behavior when its our friend or family member involved, or someone deemed to be important is involved or where we believe the end justifies the means. Under our laws, neither Mr. Miller or a four time convicted criminal have the right to fire shots at fleeing persons who you merely suspect of stealing from you. When did the punishment for stealing become death by a self-appointed firing squad in the Bahamas. This is why the crime problem is so intractable, because some of us sit passively by, watching and condoning the crimes of certain persons and only complain or report to the police when it negatively impacts us personally. We simply can't have it both ways.

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JohnDoes 6 years, 8 months ago

These copper thieves are blatant. Prime example: My grandmother came home one day and found a man in her back yard with a saw just hacking away at a discontinued water and sewage pipe. Yes the pipe is made of copper, had been there for years, and no longer being used. But how does this individual find himself on someones property taking something that is not even their own? This is one out the many incidents that this copper export is causing. She was scared to run the man away because he was armed with a hack saw and machete just hacking away out of desperation. If she had even tried to stop him or threaten him about it, he could have easily turned on her and the outcome could have been even worse. It only goes to show you the audacity and blatant disrespect these individuals have who make it their job to steal and scavenge around for this easy money metal.

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SP 6 years, 8 months ago

Sorry you missed Mr. Miller! I agree with you 100%.

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superUser 6 years, 8 months ago

What type of gun License does he have?

If its a Hunting license only, then he certainly should be locked up for taking that gun out of its gun safe and loading it, then firing it in public - around police officers no less. What does he think this is, the US where in many cases you are allowed to own a gun to protect your life and property? Sorry to disappoint him, but this is the Bahamas. And even in the US you cant just kill someone for stealing.

If its a special license for self defense (as guns for self defense are otherwise illegal in the Bahamas), then unlike what someone else said, NO you need no special training and there are no mental health checks - getting a gun license for other than hunting in the Bahamas is about WHO YOU KNOW. And its NOT about WHO YOU ARE, as I know of people who were in high positions and had death threats and applied for gun licenses and were denied. And Yes they CAN get training, but they are not required to get training. Judges for example are given hand guns and the cops go around to clean them for them - these people carry loaded weapons but cant even clean them themselves.

Anyway, like others said even the cops should know they cannot fire weapons at fleeing criminals, at least not unless their life is being threatened at the time by the fleeing criminal.

That said, I would stand behind the death penalty for any such terrorist - that's what copper thieves are in this country, they are terrorists. But we are supposed to be a country of laws, where a judge and or jury decides the fate of the criminal - not a citizen or police.

So the question remains, will the Tribune do due diligence and find out what kind of Gun License this person has? Otherwise your story makes it sound like we are living in the Wild Wild West, but one where only certain "special people" are allowed to engage in shoot ups along side the cops.

Lastly, would I trust Mr Miller with a gun? Hell no - he appears to have some rage issues.

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John 6 years, 8 months ago

The first mistake Leslie Miller made was fire a gun at fleeing suspects. While the police does give businessmen preference to getting shotgun licenses, these licenses are still issued for hunting purposes. However if a businessman happen to be confronted at his home or business by armed or life threatening individuals, the law will allow him some leeway in using his shotgun to defend himself, his property or his family. In fact when businessmen were issued with shotguns back in the 60's, there was never the intention of these guns even being fired at a business place. The police use to tell you to display your gun from time to time where it is visible to would-be robbers, and the mere fact that they knew you had a shotgun would deter then from plotting on your establishment. Handguns were not easily accessible as they are today, so the weapons use for robbery would be a cutlass a knife or a stolen and 'sawed off' shotgun. The second mistake the potcake made was publicizing, almost nationally, that he fired his gun at fleeing suspects. Even police do not have the authority to do this (unless someone's life is in danger), and after it happened, the policemen on the scene should have informed and cautioned the MP that his behavior was lawless and reckless. Usually in a situation like this where you pull your (licensed) gun on someone or fire it irresponsibly, the police would confiscate the weapon, if only temporarily until you cool off and until you understand that the weapon is not to be used in that manner. Unbeknownst to Mr. Miller, he may have further put himself in harms way by publically claiming that he fired on these suspects. If the situation had been that the police were there and shots were fired, then the thieves may think twice about coming back. But now that they know it was Mr. Miller who shot at them they may seek revenge or because they are the bold faced and daring and persistent thieves that they demonstrated they are, they may see Mr. Miller as the only thing standing between them and the copper and decide to 'remove' the obstacle in their way. Unfortunately we do live in a cold hearted and materialistic society and some people will not think twice about taking a life to covert the that person's possessions. And the bible does warn us that the day will come where man will take his gold and throw it in the streets, not because the gold has no value but because a persons life has *more * value. So rather than lose his life protecting his valuables he would throw these things in the streets so the robbers and murderers do not come after him. Are we witnessing some of that in this Bahamas today?..John 3:16

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 8 months ago

what the Bahamas is witnessing is we have a 75% illegitamacy rate and make more babies then jobs ..In the last decade us Bahamians ,not hatians , had 50.000 children and b/c no one wants to admit lil johnny and jane aren,t being educated we now give certificates of completion ..I was talking to a young man at COB ,,he said he got a C in a class ,,when i asked what a C was he said 65 to 74 % ..geez under 70 was a F when i was in school and 70 to 76 was a D ,, All the talk about imaginary unfeasible industries is just that talk ,,what we need is sexual and life responsibility ,,it won,t happen and crime and poverty will increase ,,we have the proof to look at all over our region ..

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superUser 6 years, 8 months ago

Not just that, the material they are learning today is much easier than it was years ago also - we are now "educating" dummies just to become a little less dumb - but in the end, they are still dummies. It's amazing that with all the "smart phones" Bahamians use, the majority of Bahamians are still dumb as a door nail - and I am talking primarily about the youth of today, but that said there are still some smart youth and I wish them well because THEY are the real Bahamian heros. Eg. the 20 year old Store manager, and there are many more examples.

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TheObjectiveVoice 6 years, 8 months ago

Chile, ya'll know Leslie Miller don't play and he don't apologize for being himself - as we all should be. You all are being unreasonable. I would have fired too. What in the hell were they doing in there - on property that do not belong to them. They needed to be in their own homes or at work or something. If someone comes inside your house whether they are trying to flee or not, they are not suppose to be in there and are subject to whatever comin' down on them. I don't care if you're fleeing, you're not suppose to be on my property. There was a guy who shot one of two fleeing rapists some years ago who tried to rape his maid. I remember seeing that fella outside on the ground as we waited for the morticians... the man was protecting his household - even though the rapist was fleeing. He was dead and that's one less person to get bail and go and rape someone-else. Get them before they get you...Get off people's property.

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superUser 6 years, 8 months ago

You sir sound a little psychotic - so what about the Bahamian youth (15-19 years old) who swim off the shore of homes - and who always go up on the property, sometimes just to urinate or defecate, or even to use their swimming pool, or just to jump off their docks, or to take a short cut through the property? You would say it's okay for the home owner to just open fire on them? Remember the home owner does not know who they are, they could be robbing their home for all they know, or raping their Haitian gardener out back in the shed.

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John 6 years, 8 months ago

I am convinced that concerned citized is either sterile or impotent or both. No matter what the topic is that is being discussed he has to talk aboul illegimate children or the Bahamian birte rate...well if you can't make none there's plenty to adopt..

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 7 months ago

DO YOU ALWAYS STOOP TO MAN CALLING ..ITS NOT YOUR BUSINESS BUT I HAVE TWO GROWN CHILDREN ..THE PROOF IS ALL AROUND US ABOUT ILLEGITAMACY ,ABSEENTEE FATHERS AND CRIME ,,,,,,HAITI ,JAMAICA ,INNER CITY DETROIT ,,,CHICAGO ,,,,,,,,,,,,,ARE WE SO "BLESSED" AS A PEOPLE THAT WE CAN DO THE SAME THING AND GET DIFFERENT RESULTS ,,NO ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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paul_vincent_zecchino 6 years, 7 months ago

Congratulations, Hon. MP Miller. Job well done, Sir. Criminals read the papers and watch the news and your example of a fine citizen defending his life and property and the lives of others will surely give some of these reprobates pause the next time they contemplate committing a crime.

Thank you.

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