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Rising Carjacking Incidents on St. Croix Lead to VIPD’s Public Warning

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St. Croix is witnessing an alarming surge in carjackings, prompting the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) to issue a cautionary statement to the public. Particularly concerning is the pattern of these attacks that seems to be predominantly targeting women.

In the early hours of Saturday, August 19, at around 12:39 a.m., an unsettling event transpired in the vicinity of Peter’s Rest. Two women, heading to their parked cars, were intercepted by a dark-colored vehicle. From it emerged two individuals garbed in black attire. These men, wielding firearms, confronted the women, one of whom was driving a white 4-door 2015 Honda Civic SI, identifiable by the license plate CGV-797. One assailant forcefully took possession of her car keys and purse. Following this, the two men, each commandeering a vehicle, sped off in separate directions – one in the direction of El Sol Restaurant and the other towards the Sion Farm traffic signal.

Barely a day later, a similar incident was reported, this time around 12:55 a.m. on Sunday, August 20, in the Orange Grove locale. As an adult female was about to enter her 2018 gray 4-door Jeep Wrangler (license plate CHM-051), she was abruptly approached by an individual alighting from a white Toyota Yaris with heavily tinted windows and no visible license plate. This young man, noticeably lighter-skinned and clad in black, brandished a two-toned firearm. He proceeded to rob her of her car keys and purse. After the act, both the Jeep and the Yaris quickly departed from the scene.

Given the unnerving frequency of these incidents and the fact that women seem to be the primary targets, the VIPD has called for increased vigilance. They’ve underlined the importance of being constantly aware of one’s environment and suggested certain precautionary measures. They also underscored the significance of being observant to assist law enforcement, in the unfortunate event that one finds oneself in such a predicament.

In light of the recent events, Lieutenant Naomi Joseph, the Chief Detective overseeing the Criminal Investigation Bureau in St. Croix, shared some preventive advice for vehicle owners. At the forefront was her suggestion to eliminate tinted shields from license plates. She emphasized that these tints can obstruct the visibility of the plates, complicating the police’s task when tracing stolen vehicles. Furthermore, Lieutenant Joseph advocated for the display of both front and rear license plates, explaining that this would significantly augment the department’s efficiency.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau has intensified its efforts in probing into these cases. They are ardently seeking any leads or information that could be instrumental in these investigations. Community members are ardently encouraged to report any related or suspicious activities. They can reach out either directly to 911 or, for those desiring anonymity, to Crime Stoppers V.I. via their toll-free number 1(800)222-TIPS.

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Crime

Swift Justice: Fugitive Duo Nabbed at St. Thomas Airport En Route to Mainland

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At Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas, vigilant Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials thwarted the escape efforts of two fugitives attempting to flee to the mainland, underscoring the effectiveness of our law enforcement agencies in keeping our communities safe.

Jasmine Cherie Sheppard’s plan to evade the law came to a halt on a serene Sunday afternoon. As she navigated through the checkpoint, aiming for an American Airlines flight to Miami, the advanced security systems sounded the alert. An outstanding arrest warrant for Sheppard, hailing from Louisiana, was confirmed active by Fort Bend County, Texas authorities, leading to her immediate arrest on charges of being a fugitive from justice.

The diligence of CBP officers continued to shine mere hours later when Taheim James Hart became the focus of their unwavering attention. With an active warrant from Hudson County, New Jersey, Hart’s intentions of boarding a Delta Airlines flight bound for New York were swiftly curtailed. Like Sheppard, Hart was arrested and charged as a fugitive from justice, with both individuals being promptly remanded to await their respective advice of rights hearings.

The swift actions of the officials at Cyril E. King Airport not only prevented these individuals from potentially evading justice but also demonstrated the unyielding resolve of our law enforcement to protect and serve. Magistrate Simone VanHolten-Turnbull presided over the initial appearances for both Sheppard and Hart. Sheppard is set to return to court on March 19, with Hart’s follow-up hearing pending scheduling. These events serve as a stark reminder of the relentless pursuit of justice within the Virgin Islands, ensuring that those who seek to escape the law are held accountable for their actions.

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Crime

Attempt to Sell Stolen Property Back to Owner Leads to Arrest in St. Thomas

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In a bold turn of events on St. Thomas, John David Turnick Jr. faces serious legal repercussions after attempting to sell a stolen power inverter back to its original owner. The incident unfolded at Neomi’s Car Wash on February 14, drawing immediate attention from local law enforcement.

The saga began when the proprietor of a neighboring mechanic shop reported to the police that her Nissan Pathfinder had been burglarized a few days prior, with several items missing, while it was left unlocked. On Valentine’s Day, she encountered a man attempting to sell her a power inverter. Upon inspection, she identified it as her property, pilfered from her vehicle earlier, promptly reclaiming it and contacting the authorities.

John David Turnick Jr., identified as the individual attempting the sale, was apprehended by police. He initially confessed to the act of trying to sell the power inverter, alongside admitting to possessing additional stolen items from the same vehicle, including a speaker, flashlights, and a hammer. However, later at the Ancilmo Marshall Command Police Station, Turnick altered his account, claiming he had acquired the items from an unnamed third party.

Turnick’s arrest followed swiftly, with charges of possession of stolen property levied against him. Despite the charges, he was unable to meet the $25,000 bail set and was consequently detained.

During a court hearing, Magistrate Yolan Brow Ross confirmed the gravity of the charges, endorsing the bail amount. Pending his release, Turnick faces house arrest, monitored electronically, awaiting the resolution of his case.

His subsequent court date is slated for March 6, marking the next chapter in this unusual case of theft and attempted resale to the unwitting victim.

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Crime

St. Croix Woman Faces Legal Consequences for Selling Public Housing Appliance

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A significant legal issue has emerged within the Walter I.M. Hodge Pavilion, a public housing community on St. Croix, following allegations against a former resident. The individual is now facing serious felony charges for purportedly selling a refrigerator, an asset of the housing unit, highlighting the critical importance of respecting property rights within community living spaces.

The incident came to light when police were alerted by the housing complex’s assistant manager about the disappearance of the appliance from one of the apartments. The call for investigation was part of a broader eviction procedure. Reports from fellow residents indicated that Shamyra Alicea was seen earlier that day engaging in the sale of the refrigerator to an unknown buyer for $200. This discovery prompted an immediate inspection by the complex’s management, confirming the absence of the refrigerator, a piece of property owned by the housing complex, from Alicea’s apartment.

Further inquiry into the situation revealed that the lease agreement Alicea signed upon moving in included the refrigerator as part of the apartment’s amenities, underscoring the unauthorized nature of the sale. When confronted by authorities, Alicea admitted to the sale but claimed she had yet to receive payment. The value of the refrigerator was estimated at nearly $700, marking a significant loss for the housing complex.

The legal proceedings against Alicea swiftly moved forward, with her arrest on charges of grand larceny and a subsequent court appearance. Magistrate Yolan Brow Ross confirmed the validity of the charges against Alicea, setting the stage for future legal deliberations. The case is currently pending further action, with Alicea’s arraignment scheduled for March 6, as the community awaits the outcome of this distressing situation.

This incident underscores the broader challenges faced by public housing communities in maintaining the integrity and security of their properties. It serves as a reminder of the legal and ethical responsibilities residents hold towards communal assets, ensuring a harmonious and respectful living environment for all.

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