A video, above, circulated shortly after an alleged armed robbery on July 1, showing two people in white coveralls running out of the House of Luxury at the pier park. (File screenshot: WHATSAPP)

In connection with the July 1 armed robbery at the House of Luxury in Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park, police arrested and charged 35-year-old Shamul Mitchell and 27-year-old Jelani Marquis on July 8.

Though store staff are still assessing the lost inventory, at least $300,000 worth of jewellery was stolen and is still missing, Senior Crown Counsel Khadija Beddeau said during a bail hearing on July 11 in Magistrates’ Court.

The two men — jointly charged with robbery and possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence — await a decision from the Magistrates’ Court about whether they will receive bail over prosecutors’ objections.

Mr. Mitchell is represented by attorney Stephen Daniels, who sought bail. Mr. Marquis did not yet have representation but said he wanted to retain a lawyer.

Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin decided to continue the bail hearing on July 19 to give the matter due consideration and allow Mr. Marquis to seek counsel.


During the virtual hearing on July 11, Ms. Beddeau read the allegations, claiming that Messrs. Mitchell and Marquis, who she said are well known “close friends,” robbed the jewellery store together while armed on July 1.

After the robbery, she said, investigators recovered CCTV footage of two men wearing white body suits, hats with fake dreadlocks, and full-face masks entering the store.

The pair allegedly walked through the front entrance around 2 p.m., each brandishing a firearm, and instructed patrons to get on the floor before ordering employees behind glass display cases to hand over jewellery, according to the prosecutor.

“Whilst the employees responded to this request, the persons began breaking the glass counters on the display case and removed the jewellery,” she said.

In the process, the robbers cut themselves on the glass shards, she said, adding that investigators later took DNA samples from the scene.

The robbers reportedly put the jewellery in two backpacks, one green and one black, before fleeing the store and running through the pier park’s exit gate, she said.

During their escape, at least one of the robbers discharged several gunshots into the air, she said, adding that officers investigating the scene later found shell casings there.

Shopping video

Police also obtained CCTV footage captured before the robbery at other locations on Tortola that showed Messrs. Mitchell and Marquis shopping at several stores for white body suits and other clothing items matching those worn by the robbers, she said.

The pair also reportedly made inquiries for “masks that cover the entire face but not the eyes,” according to the prosecutor.

Missing jewellery

After Mr. Daniels requested bail for his client, Ms. Beddeau objected on several grounds, especially to guard against interference with the ongoing investigation. She noted that the stolen jewellery and weapons are yet to be found.

Ms. Beddeau also argued that keeping the accused men in custody was in the interest of public safety given the seriousness of the offences and circumstances around the crime.

The robbery, she added, took place in “broad daylight” at a port of entry frequented by many tourists.

“There was the reckless discharge of a firearm in a public place,” she said. “There was no regard for the employees and businesses at the pier park. The Crown believes these defendants pose a risk to the public.”

She noted that police are awaiting the results of DNA evidence from the scene. When officers arrested the accused men, she added, they consented to the collection of DNA samples.

Ms. Beddeau said officers also noted a laceration on Mr. Marquis’ finger at the time of the arrest.

Defence attorney

Mr. Daniels countered that the Crown has a weak case lacking evidence identifying the pair as the pier park robbers.

“No jewellery was found in either defendant’s home when searched by the police,” he said. “No weapons matching ammunitions were found in the defendant’s home.”

The prosecutor noted that the offences are indictable, and the case would be tried in the High Court before a jury.

Ms. Beddeau requested three weeks to compile case materials and said the prosecution would seek to bring the case to trial quickly given that it is a matter of “national importance.”

Investigation ongoing

Acting Police Commissioner St. Clair Armory reassured the public in a press release issued on July 9 that officers were making “steady progress” with the investigation.

“It is very difficult to resist the temptation to respond and defend the force when those in the community give commentary on its actions or inactions,” he said. “However, compiling the necessary evidence to charge perpetrators of gun crimes takes time and requires a great deal more effort. In these types of investigations, unfortunately, the least said, the better for us.”

He also confirmed that no injuries were reported in the pier park robbery. Police are still seeking information from anyone who witnessed the incident, “no matter how insignificant it may seem.”

Witnesses can contact the police Intelligence Unit at 368-9339 or anonymously report to Crime Stoppers at 800-8477.