MARIGOT—The Gendarmerie announced Thursday it had arrested three individuals suspected of committing multiple armed robberies in St. Martin since the beginning of the year. The French side has suffered a spate of armed robberies recently.
The accused are two minors and an adult who were remanded in custody on Tuesday and Wednesday. The three were allegedly involved in 11 acts of aggravated theft, four armed robberies, and two cases of extortion at gunpoint since the beginning of the year, and between January 31 and February 22.
The victims include a hotel and restaurant in Baie Nettle, Chinese supermarkets or other businesses, and individuals robbed at gunpoint.
The three suspects were transferred to Guadeloupe to be heard by an examining magistrate. The adult and the one minor over the age of 16 years were placed in pre-trial detention and could face up to 10 years in prison. The other minor under 16 years will be placed in a special juvenile center in Guadeloupe. The adult is a repeat offender for receipt of stolen good, drugs possession and theft.
According to Commandant Stéphan Basso the three were all born in St. Martin and came from the same district. The youngest was still in school with a record of absenteeism.
Prosecutor Xavier Sicot described the arrests as a “significant catch” and praised the diligent work of detectives and investigators, some 10 individuals who were working on the investigation. Sicot said the investigation continues and a judicial enquiry has been opened to determine whether the suspects were linked or involved in other cases.
He commended the Gendarmerie for its work in containing acts of delinquency and keeping the population safe, but regretted the lack of witness testimony as witnesses often fear reprisals. In addition, not all victims report an incident but every element reported is very important to an investigation.