By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
SEVERAL tourists and Bahamians were robbed at a popular downtown bar on Navy Lion Road, The Tribune has learned.
According to sources, two masked men entered 25 North Tuesday night and robbed the visitors as well as several Bahamians of their cash and other personal items.
A man who witnessed the robbery, but did not want to be identified, told The Tribune that the experience made him question whether he would ever return to the Bahamas.
“I was just passing through actually,” he said. “I work on a boat and because of the severe weather we had to stay because the sea was too rough. So we all decided to go downtown and get a few drinks and wait for the storm to be over and enjoy our time here. We went into the bar and was having a pretty good time. Then around 11:30 two men stormed the place and made all of us get on the floor,” he said.
“There were about 20 people in there, mostly visitors. We just did what we were told and the men robbed us of money and cell phones and other personal items we had. It was so invasive. I love the Bahamas and enjoy coming here from time to time, but that is something I would not like to experience again. I was truly terrified.”
According to police reports, two men, one wearing a red and black hooded jacket and the other in a black hooded jacket robbed the bar and its patrons around 11:50pm. The men then fled the area in a red jeep east along Bay Street.
Police say they are actively investigating the incident and are appealing to anyone who might have information about this incident to contact them at 911 or 919, the Central Detective Unit at 328-TIPS or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 328-TIPS.
This latest incident comes two weeks after American visitor Kyle Bruner was killed on East Bay Street and a week after the US issued a statement warning its citizens about travel to the Bahamas.
The US Embassy statement advised Americans living in and travelling to the Bahamas to remain on alert in an effort to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
The Embassy said several US citizens have been robbed at gunpoint this year, and some have suffered serious injury.
“The Royal Bahamas Police Force website reports that for January 1 to April 15 there have been 328 armed robberies, 111 robberies, and 660 house break-ins,” the warning said.
“Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security,” it told US citizens.
Meanwhile, amid fears that such warnings could severely affect tourism arrivals, Kyle Bruner’s father Rick Bruner said he does not blame the people of the Bahamas for his son’s death.
“This sort of thing can and does happen in many cities around the world. My son was killed by a person and some will say he shouldn’t have been in that area or he shouldn’t have become involved in the struggle between the woman being robbed and her assailant, but he was not a person who would stand by and watch someone being victimised,” said Mr Bruner in a message on www.tribune242.com.
He said Kyle’s death has created a whirlwind of talk, warnings and suggestions, and that he hopes the incident will in some small way remind people that to create change, they must have the will to change.
“This doesn’t mean relying on government to create that change, after all government is merely a reflection of a country’s citizens. It means that ordinary people have to make the commitment to change what is happening and work together to achieve their goals.
“Some might say that I have no business telling Bahamians how to conduct their affairs and they would be right, I am not telling you what to do. I am merely saying that no family wants to be notified that their child has been senselessly murdered, whether they are American or Bahamian,” Mr Bruner said.
Last Friday, four men were charged in the magistrate’s court with Kyle Bruner’s murder.
Twenty-year-old Craig Johnson, of Clarke’s Alley; Anton Bastian, 19, of Abraham Street; Jamaal Dorfevil, 28, of St James Road and Marcellus Williams, 21, of Culmer’s Alley, all appeared before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez.
They are also accused of robbing a woman of her handbag valued at $30 and an Iphone valued at $900; robbing another person of a handbag valued at $20, a black Iphone valued at $300, and $30 cash.