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Hamilton restaurant robbed at gunpoint

Armed attack: at Wok Express (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

An armed robber aimed a gun at the chef of a Hamilton restaurant on Sunday night, demanding cash, according to the owner.

While the culprit escaped, fleeing Wok Express with a quantity of cash, no one was injured in the incident.

Owner Gilles Calliere said he was not present when the robbery took place, but he was told that the suspect struck at about 10pm while the cashier was counting the day’s money.

“He came to the back of the restaurant,” he said. “He took one of the chefs and put the gun to him and started asking where the money was.

“They didn’t take any chances. They went to the cashier and from what I understand he went in a hurry. He took some cash and he went away very fast. The money was flying and there was money on the floor outside.”

Asked how the staff were coping after the incident, Mr Calliere said he was amazed by their resilience.

“I told them I don’t mind if they take the day off, but they were all here this morning,” he said. “I’m stunned. They are all very strong.”

He suggested that more frequent police patrols would do more to combat the recent spate of armed robberies than CCTV cameras.

“The camera isn’t going to do anything,” he said. “If they had more patrols, it might work, especially on Sundays when there are not so many small businesses open. It might help.

“At the end of the day, we will get some money back through insurance, but this is hurting us, hurting the staff.”

According to a police spokesman, officers responded to a report of a robbery at the North Street restaurant at about 10.10pm.

“It appears that an unknown male brandishing what is believed to be a firearm gained entry into the premises, demanded money and left with a quantity of cash,” he said.

“The suspect, described as 5ft 10in with a slim build wearing a white shirt, blue jeans and a silver helmet, fled on a dark coloured motorcycle along Parsons Road. No employees of Wok Express were injured.”

Asked if the incident could be related to other armed robberies that have occurred in recent months, the spokesman said officers are looking at “all lines of enquiry”.

The incident is the latest in a series of armed robberies that have become increasingly frequent this year. Last Wednesday, two men robbed Soares and Sons supermarket in the Spanish Point area with a firearm. An 18-year-old male was arrested in connection with the robbery, but a police spokesman confirmed yesterday that the suspect had been released on bail pending further inquiries.

In July, a man used what appeared to be a firearm at Four Star Pizza on Angle Street and made demands of money, but left empty-handed.

Armed robbers have also targeted Continental Motors, Hunt’s Food and Supplies, Island Spice restaurant, Pasta Basta, RUBiS gas station in Flatts and T & L Budget Warehouse this year.

Meanwhile, in several other incidents this year robbers have used bladed items to threaten business staff.

Police are urging any members of the public who may have seen suspicious activity near the Wok Express at around 10pm on Sunday to contact the Criminal Investigation Department at 247-1744, or the confidential Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-8477.

Speaking on the incident yesterday, Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, reiterated the police’s calls for public assistance.

“The Bermuda Police Service are actively investigating these crimes,” he said. “I would urge anyone who may have witnessed anything in the area or who saw something suspicious to make contact with the police or use the confidential CrimeStoppers hotline and share that information.”