Murder investigation launched into death of elderly woman
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten (26 June 2022) – The Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM and the Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM have launched a murder investigation into the death of the octogenarian who died on 29 May 2022 after armed robbers invaded her Pointe Blanche home. The robbers also assaulted and injured the woman’s husband.
The “Pharao” investigation into the initial break-in and assault, took a turn to murder after the autopsy findings revealed that L.M. (86) died an unnatural death.
Prosecutor’s office (OM) and Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) encourage anyone with information about the brutal and fatal attack on the two 80-plus-year-olds in their home before dawn to come forward to in the pursuit of justice.
Anyone who may have information about this fatal incident is urged to contact the Police Force on +1 721 542 2222 ext. 204 or 205 or the free anonymous tip line 9300. You can also visit http://www.policesxm.sx to report crimes anonymously via the tip contact form or leave a private message via Facebook: Police Force of Sint Maarten – Korps Politie Sint Maarten.
Public Prosecutor’s (OM) submits GEBE hack report to Government
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten (26 June 2022) – The Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM, together with the Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM, has delivered its report on the March 2022 ransom ware attack (in Dutch: Bestuurlijk rapportage ransomwareaanval) on utilities company N.V. GEBE to the Government of Sint Maarten, the shareholder of this public-owned entity.
The report is based on findings from the “Freya” investigation, which includes the report and interviews with GEBE staff members and other relevant information from the Kingdom Cooperation Team RST.
The purpose of submitting the “Freya” investigation report to the St. Maarten government centers on the security risks that have occurred at GEBE as a result of the March 17 incident. The report is also intended to enable the authorities (read government and its related entities) to take appropriate measures.
During the investigation, OM SXM and KPSM were unable to establish sufficiently what the actual danger to Sint Maarten has been due to the hack. Due to NV GEBE’s non-cooperative attitude, there had been no access to the hacked computer system at any time. Therefore, the “Freya” investigation could not establish what were the exact risks for the country and clients of GEBE; who was behind the attack, and the dangers for the future.
On 17 March 2022, a cyber-attack was discovered on GEBE. A message in the computer system indicated that the company had been hacked by “Black Byte”, an organization that focuses on stealing and encrypting data, mainly from companies (ransom ware). As a result of the hack, the entire customer database, financial data and other business data was encrypted.
Sint Maarten’s vital infrastructure is the foundation of society. The interconnectivity, small scale and dependence on country’s infrastructure mean that the failure of vital infrastructure, such as the only energy company, has an immediate social impact.
Recently, two major cyber-attacks have hit the vital infrastructure of Sint Maarten. In September 2021, there was a cyber-attack on the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) and on GEBE. In the past (2018), the Government of Sint Maarten suffered a ransom ware attack whereby the public tasks could not be performed temporarily.
Ransom ware or hostage software is the most common and lucrative form of cybercrime worldwide. Attacks occur daily and the ransoms demanded regularly run into millions of dollars. The extortion of organizations earns criminal groups hundreds of millions of dollars. It causes great damage to the victims and has a socially disruptive effect.
Detectives of the S.U.R are busy investigating several armed robberies.
The detectives of the Special Unite Robberies (S.U.R.) have been kept busy investigating a
Several robberies. In the last few weeks, there has been a noticeable increase in armed robberies. Remarkably, the suspects are mainly targeting the small groceries stores in the different districts.
In general, the suspects who commit these acts are usually two persons. They are sometimes on scooters and wearing masks.
Seeing this uptick, the police of St. Maarten finds it imperative to educate the public as well
as the business owners in an effort to minimize the risk of being targeted by these
criminals. The best way to “deal with” with armed robberies is to prevent them.
An appeal goes out to the owner of the small supermarkets to take precautionary measures to protect themselves by not storing large amounts cash in the establishment.
Understand that robbers commit crimes because they believe that the payoff outweighs any risk. Robberies usually take place when there’s a lack of planning for emergency situations and when poor cash handling is involved. Without the right security measures, many businesses unknowingly make criminal situations convenient for robbers.
The police will continue to do our part and we will continue to ask the community to assist. Only by working as a unit can we stop the individuals who go into the community looking for an easy payout by committing a robbery. Prevention is always better than finding a cure.
To help you do that, the Sint Maarten Force Communication department has put together
some tips that can help your business from becoming a victim of robbery and also how to
deal with them in the event a robbery does occur.
Armed robberies usually happen during opening and closing times, as well as lunch breaks.
Why? “Opening and closing periods are particularly vulnerable times due to low staffing and
large amounts of cash on hand. Lunch hours are primary times for the same reasons.”
Practice safe cash handling Robbers are after cash, so take the necessary cash handling precautions to minimize risk and loss.
Here are some of the ways to do that:
Avoid having unnecessary amounts of money in your register. Only keep the
amount you need to conduct normal business, and either put everything else in a
safe or transfer to the bank.
Improve visibility having a checkout area that’s highly visible can discourage robbers.
That why it’s best to:
- Avoid fixtures or signs that can obstruct views of and from the register.
- Cover your blind spots using mirrors or cameras.
- Invest in good lighting both inside and outside your stores.