Six men were arrested Saturday morning shortly after an armed holdup at Imperial Jewelers in Charlotte Amalie, the V.I. Police Department reported Sunday.
Officers were dispatched to the incident by 911 emergency operators just before 9:50 a.m. Saturday. Citizens reported that seven armed men entered the store, displayed firearms and stole an undetermined amount of jewelry. No shots were fired in the store and no one was injured. The suspects fled and ran up a nearby alley in the direction of Catherineberg.
Officers, who were already in the immediate area, pursued the suspects, creating a perimeter around a bushy area. VIPD officers who were both on and off duty, detectives, K9 officers and law enforcement officers from other agencies responded to assist with the search.
At least one shot was fired by suspects while they were surrounded, police said.
At 10:05 a.m. officers detained the first suspect, who attempted to conceal himself in the heavy vegetation. Police apprehended five more suspects, one by one, who were also found inside the cordoned off area. Police also confiscated three firearms and several bags of jewelry. The jewelry was later identified as the merchandise stolen from Imperial Jewelers.
Arrested were Shaquim Fredericks, 19, Warkim J. Gabriel, 18, Chefton C. Newton, 25, Alvin Thomas, 18 and two 17-year-old minors. The suspects were all charged with first-degree robbery, unauthorized possession of a firearm, aiding and abetting, possession of stolen property, first-degree assault and unlawful discharge of a firearm. Bail was set in the amount of $100,000 for each of the adults.
They were unable to post bail and were remanded to the Bureau of Corrections pending further court action. The minors were held in protective custody pending their appearance in Juvenile Court.
St. Thomas/St. John/ Water Island Police Chief Darren Foy had high praises for all VIPD officers and other law enforcement involved in the investigation and for the members of the public whose swift action and calls to 911 resulted in the of capture six suspects, the seizure of firearms and the recovery of stolen property.
“The officers performed their jobs with the highest caliber of professionalism. The public continues to be irreplaceable in their role as the eyes and ears of the VIPD,” Foy said.
Police Commissioner Rodney F. Querrard Sr. echoed the chief’s kudos, adding that the community should be proud of the police response and performance in this matter.
“Our officers continue to receive first class in-service training, and this situation proved their proficiency in active shooter scenarios, including pursuit and capture”, the commissioner said. "The way Chief Foy and all officers on the scene responded and acted was excellent and commendable. Working together they ensured that the suspects were in a position where they could not escape after committing this serious crime. The calls from those in the community with information resulting in these arrests and recovery cannot go unnoticed, and I commend each of you for doing your part. The VIPD continues to make every effort to rebuild the community’s trust so individuals can feel comfortable reporting crimes. This situation proved that we are on the right track. As I have said countless times, the community is the key to crime prevention and quick apprehension when a crime is committed. Again, please accept my personal thanks to all law enforcement and civilians who continue to do their part in making these islands a safer place to live, work and visit.”