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ROBBERY WITH AGGRAVATION: Gunmen prey on dancehall artistes Featured

Archive Written by  AKA Wednesday, 26 May 2010 16:47 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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In a country plagued by the twin tigers of poverty and unemployment, the affluent and deep pocketed often feel as if they are walking targets for an increasingly predatory population especially in the face or soaring food and oil prices. Today’s artistes believe that they are being viewed as easy targets for would-be robbers and extortionists.


“Some of the bad man dem nuh rate certain artistes again because yu dun know how the garrison set up, nuff man caan go a road so dem party inna dem community and when yu ask certain artiste fi pass through and dem don’t, they feel disrespected, because the stage shows in their area is their only comfort,” Nitty Kutchie said.

A few years ago, Elephant Man, Roundhead and other top flight artistes were robbed at the Mixing Lab studios on Dunbarton Avenue. Two years ago, there was another robbery at the studio.

This is one of the major reasons that artistes prefer to walk with large entourages of men.

“Times are hard, and it come in like some gangsters nuh respect artiste again, so yu find that artistes regard entourages as a good thing, when a potential robber see that, him nuh waan run in. So when yu see an artiste get rob, ah just somebody who feel say de artiste de deserve fi get diss,” said one industry insider.

There are other alternatives open to artistes such as the use of private security firms, off-duty police officers and even panic buttons. Other artistes just apply for gun licences and arm themselves for the day that they might be approached in a threatening way. Several artistes have been granted gun licences so they can protect their lives and property.

“The only concern I have with this is that some of the artistes de pon a modeling thing with them gun, they don’t go to the range, they don’t know how to handle themselves and they allow too many people to know they have a gun. But the way Jamaica ah run right now, yu have to have a fire beside you at all times because yu don’t know the day or the hour,” one artiste who chose to remain anonymous, said.


• On November 21, 2001, Horace Pinnock – better known as DJ Village – died from a single gunshot wound to the chest while he was outside a hotel in London. He was a DJ who hosted programmes on BBC Radio 1. He was killed hours after he and a group of friends including Elephant Man were robbed at gunpoint of thousands of pounds.
He and his friends were robbed of cash – believed to amount to more than £10,000, in US dollars – and personal jewellery. The group of friends, three men and two women, were cornered by two armed men as Mr Pinnock tried to park his blue Ford Galaxy in the car park of the Plaza Hotel in Wembley, north-west London, at about midnight. Most of the money belonged to O'Neil Bryan, who uses the stage name Elephant Man and had been on tour in Britain at the time.

Image• On May 20, 2006, deejay Grace ‘Spice’ Hamilton was robbed on Saturday at about 2:00 am by an armed man who broke into her Mannings Hill apartment through a window, and at gunpoint, made off with $150,000 in cash, five cellphones and jewellery valued at over $300,000. According to Spice, the robber, who was dressed in full black and had a black towel over his head, was working with an accomplice who stood guard downstairs while he clambered up the steep wall to her second floor apartment.

Image• On February 18, 2008, deejay Mad Cobra was robbed when his BMW X5 was parked outside a party (“Full White”) along Port Henderson Road. Thieves broke the rear glass of the vehicle and stole cash (J$215,000) as well as a digital camera and equipment valued at several hundred thousand dollars. This is the second time in four years that he's being robbed, as in April 2004, thieves broke into his Portmore home and took off with valuables worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

• On July 18, 2006, comedian Alton ‘Fancy Cat’ Hardware was held up and robbed of his Mitsubishi Gallant, two cellphones, laptop and wallet in front of Tastee's in Cross Roads.
“Even if mi did have a license gun mi wouldn't even can do nothing,” Fancy Cat was quoted as saying at the time.

• On October 30, 2007, Mr. Lexx was robbed, when a vehicle owned by his friend, DJ Brain Damage, was burgled. Stolen from the 2006 Altezza were the car's stereo system, cellphones, Lexx’s travel documents and Mr Lexx’s laptop computer containing all his production work and new juggling material. He was reportedly robbed again two weeks ago while in a barber shop in Queens, NY.

• On September 24, 2007, Mavado was forced to cancel concerts in Trinidad and Tobago and other locales when he was robbed after arriving at his hotel in Toronto. Mavado reportedly lost extremely important documents in the robbery. These include his passport, money, other travel documents and a laptop computer. Toronto's first Black owned Urban Station FLOW 93.5fm advertisements were run offering rewards of up to C$5000, for the return of Mavado's belongings. Without travel documents, Mavado was refused entry into the US to perform at his Atlanta gig.

• In 2003, deejay Galaxy P was shot by armed men who had invaded his Greater Portmore 

• In 1997, Josey Wales was robbed at a Kingston bar and managed to survive gunshot wounds; the incident briefly revitalized his recording career, as he scored Jamaican hits with the singles ‘Bush Wacked’ and ‘Who Shot The Colonel’, later that year.

Image• In June 2006, Bounty Killer was robbed of about 650,000 by his domestic worker employed at his uptown residence.
Also in the year 2006, Sean Paul was relieved of his cellphone in Kenya and Beenie Man's chain was grabbed at a record store in London.

• In April 2002, Stitchie and one of his back-up singers, Sophia Clarke, was robbed at gunpoint. The robbery occurred at the gate of Ms. Clarke's Marlemount Avenue home near Duhaney Park. In the incident, Stitchie lost his motorcar (which was found scrapped a couple of days later) as well as the master recordings for his upcoming.

• On January 1, 2002, deejay Delroy ‘Delly Ranx’ Foster was also robbed of his car at gunpoint along Deanery Road. In the New Year's Day robbery, Delly lost a gold chain as well as other valuables. The car was returned a couple days later, with everything intact.

Other robberies have had fatal results for entertainers:

• Humourous deejay Black Rat was shot and killed in July 2002 at his home on Dumbarton Avenue in Kingston 10. His assailants also made off with jewellery valued at $15,000. A female, who was in bed with the deejay, escaped unhurt. Six months earlier, he had been shot in what was suspected to be a previous robbery attempt.

• In 1993 deejay Anthony ‘Panhead’ Johnson, who was known for hits such as ‘African Princess’, was shot dead at his home on Davidson Avenue, Drewsland. Three gunmen pounced upon the deejay in the wee hours of the morning on his return from a dance, which was held at the Maverley playing field and shot him in the head. The police speculated that the motive was robbery since his gold necklace was stolen.
Two months later, the entertainment fraternity lost another son and at the same time gospel deejay Papa San lost his older brother, Patrick ‘Dirtsman’ Thompson, who was shot dead at his home in Dela Vega City, Spanish Town, St. Catherine. It is not clear if robbery was the motive.

• Hugh Mundell a.k.a. Jah Levi was killed In Kingston following a robbery at his home in 1983, while Osbourne ‘King Tubby’ Ruddock was gunned down following a robbery outside his home in Tower Hill, Kingston on February 6, 1989.

• Valerie Cowan, Tommy Cowan's first wife, was murdered in Kingston during a robbery in 1992.

Oneil Edwards was robbed of his Blackberry cellphone and shot five times, once in the head on May 10th. He died on May 26, 2010.

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