Minister renews call for security review after third John Bull robbery in recent years
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday suggested security protocols at high-end resorts need to be overhauled after an armed smash and grab robbery at the Atlantis resort.
Two robbers, one of whom was armed, stormed into John Bull’s Rolex store in the Crystal Court of the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island and stole an undetermined amount of luxury watches late Saturday evening.
The store is located between the Coral Tower main entrance and the resort’s casino.
“Crime exacted against anybody is horrible, but as it relates to my remit as the minister of tourism, this type of event has happened,” D’Aguilar told Eyewitness News.
“I think it happened some type ago at the shopping mall at Baha Mar and obviously criminals are targeting these high-end jewelry stores.
“I am not a person who specializes in this type of crime, but I am sure the fact that it happened a number of times will cause, the landlords of these establishments or the areas where they happen to really review and put into place the necessary deterrents because obviously whatever they are doing, the criminals are thinking about how to get around it and are clearly being successful in their attempt.”
The minister said he was encouraged that the last time John Bull was robbed at Baha Mar the suspects were eventually arrested and the jewelry was retrieved.
He said he was hopeful of a similar outcome.
“It’s just unfortunate these happen in areas that are highly trafficked by our foreign visitors,” D’Aguilar said.
“Clearly, it doesn’t reflect positively on the destination if you happen to be at one of these [places] and this occurs. And so, we have to ensure that these types of establishments, [that are] high risk — history has shown that they are high risk — and the necessary precautions need to be reviewed constantly, updated and to get mitigate such unfortunate incidents such as this.”
According to reports, the men entered the Rolex store shortly after 11 pm.
One of them produced a firearm, prompting attendants to run to the back of the store.
The assailants smashed two showcase glasses and stolen an assortment of Rolex watches before escaping.
Vehicles attempting to traverse the Paradise Island Bridge were temporarily stopped as police searched for the suspects.
In a statement, Atlantis said: “We can confirm that theft occurred at the Rolex store. The police were called and the matter is under investigation. Thankfully no one was injured.”
The Rolex store remained closed yesterday.
A notice on the storefront read: “Rolex will be closed today. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.”
Several white sheets covered the glass showcases, which normally display an array of the high-end watches.
Security officers were also stationed outside of the Crystal Court area, Marina Village and the walkways leading up to the Coral Tower entrance.
This is the third time an armed robbery at the John Bull store has been robbed in recent years, with a fourth incident reported in 2011.
Last May, two men entered the John Bull at Baha Mar, located near the resort’s western entrance, smashed several showcases and stole an assortment of watches and jewelry valued at over $400,000.
In June 2018, two robbers dress in women’s clothing and wigs burst into John Bull in the Port Lucaya Marketplace in Freeport and stole $900,000 in luxury watches.
In May 2011, two men, one of whom was armed with a rifle, robbed John Bull’s Rolex Boutique in downtown Nassau, getting away with 12 luxury watches valued at more than $395,000.
When contacted Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis said the incident reflects poorly on the country and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames, whom he suggested has downplayed the recent spate of armed robberies.
“There has to be heightened security,” Davis said.
“I mean, the criminals are becoming more and more brazen and we have come to accept that.
“And, what I call the initiatives or policies of the government are more concerned about detection, prosecution and punishment, rather than prevention.
Davis added: “All their efforts have been in that regard. To illustrate, you invest million of dollars in a ShotSpotter. What does that tell you?
“You detect it after that fact, and the initiatives to ensure that the intelligence from the ground could reach to do something about it, is non-existent.”