Following “several weeks of intensive investigation” into reports of burglary, theft and other offences committed at homes and businesses in the territory, detectives have arrested and charged two Tortola men, police said Tuesday.

Kie-Andre Williams, 21, of McNamara, and Jehkhalibbah Williams, 19, of Free Bottom, have been jointly charged with “a series of offences ranging from burglary to criminal trespass in relation to separate incidents” that occurred in April and May, according to a press release from the Police Information Office.

Police did not provide further details about the charges, but said officers conducted several search operations at premises occupied by both men and recovered items believed to have been stolen from residences and businesses in the territory.

“A missing sport utility vehicle was also among the properties recovered by the police,” the release stated, adding that more charges are expected in the coming days.

As of Tuesday, both men had been denied police bail and remained in custody pending the next available court date, according to police.

“The multi-pronged investigation remains dynamic,” the release stated, adding that the public will receive “further updates in tandem with any significant developments.”

‘Alarming’ burglary surge

The arrest announcement came two days after police warned about an “alarming” upsurge in burglaries mostly centred around the Road Town area.

“During these burglaries, the perpetrators often steal cash, electronics, gaming devices, power tools, weed whackers, and any other item from which they can derive a commercial gain,” according to a Sunday press release from the Police Information Office. “The public is also being asked to be on the lookout for persons offering such items for sale, particularly if the prices are below market value.”

Besides investigations, police are carrying out targeted patrols in the areas where the burglaries have been concentrated.

This tactic, they said, had already begun to yield results including “several arrests” resulting in “some defendants” being charged, the Sunday release noted.

Rental cars

Detective Chief Inspector Kenrick Davis, head of the Criminal Investigation Department, warned residents to avoid practices that could enable criminals.

“For many years, it had been common practice for persons to park rented cars with the keys left inside them,” he said. “This practice occurs mainly near our seaports, such as Trellis Bay, Road Town jetty, West End jetty, and St. Thomas Bay on Virgin Gorda.

“There is an emerging trend where criminals access these vehicles, use them to commit crimes, and then return them to these parking lots. Quite often, legitimate users or owners are oblivious to the use of their vehicles in the commission of crimes.”

Mr. Davis also described a surge in licence plate thefts on Tortola. Some of these plates, he added, have been used to commit crimes or thwart police investigations.

“There have been a few instances where criminals have used mismatched licence plates on getaway vehicles,” the release added.