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EYEWITNESS: Three Armed Suspects on St. Croix Were Cooping Cash Used To Feed ATM Machines On The Big Island

CHRISTIANSTED — The three carjacking robbers who tailed a police officer and a businesswoman on St. Croix knew they were following people with $40,000 to $100,000 cash in their vehicle — at least.

And the two people shot in the incident, the off-duty Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) officer Erik Jefferson and Catherine Willey, formerly of Estate Judith’s Fancy, were released from the Juan F. Luis Hospital this weekend.

Willey owns one of the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) concessions on the island and was transporting cash to replenish the machines around island when they were run off the road by three young men.

Sources close to the police investigation said the ATM machine business owner Willey and cop Jefferson were shot “because they were going too slow” in giving the cash to the three young people who carjacked them for the cash in the car.

One of the robbers used the butt of his gun to break the glass next to the window closest to Willey and shot her twice, once in the left arm shattering the bone in four places — and once in the stomach.

The shot to the stomach went through her without hitting any vital organs.

Officer Jefferson was shot in the leg — and that shot also went right through him.

Police were able to capture the suspects quickly because they used a stolen car for the robbery — and it was left abandoned in plain view in a residential neighborhood — nearby was the minor suspect involved in the heist.

The underage boy, who cannot be named by law in court documents, led them to the two other suspects in the crime: Luis Fraticelli, 21, and Hansel Castillo, 27.

The money was in a handbag in the backseat of the car at the time of the robbery.

The metal cartridges used to feed the ATM machines contain at least $40,000 cash.

The bag they were carrying in the car was enough cash to feed at least two machines, the source said, adding that it would have contained at least $80,000 to $100,000.

The well-publicized incident also calls into question Police Commissioner Delroy Richards Sr.’s policy of allowing all VIPD officers to “moonlight” willy nilly as private security guards during their off hours — without proper training as such.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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