SAN JUAN – Assailants in uniform entered a Puerto Rican police armory early Tuesday and stole some 100 guns, authorities said.
The robbery occurred in the wee hours at an arms depot on Isla de Cabras, a small island in San Juan Bay.
Puerto Rico’s police chief, Jose Figueroa Sancha, confirmed that the robbers, judging from the “modus operandi” they used, were linked to some element of the security forces.
He said that the assailants wore police uniforms, which allowed them to pass through the initial control points at the armory without arousing suspicion.
The criminals, who used a vehicle with official markings, beat and gagged one of the guards and tried to rape a policewoman who was at the site.
“They tried to rape her, they began to touch her everywhere, but thank God they were not able to carry out the act of rape,” said the police chief.
Figueroa Sancha said that about 50 of the weapons stolen were AR-15 assault rifles and the rest were 40-caliber pistols.
“I have no doubt that it’s an inside job. They knew where to find the weapons right from their arrival,” said the chief.
Figueroa Sancha announced that authorities were offering a reward of $25,000 to anyone supplying pertinent information about the attackers.
He said that the incident shows the desperation to acquire weapons illegally on the streets of Puerto Rico.
Crime is one of the main problems on the Caribbean island, a U.S. commonwealth, where so far this year 777 murders have been committed.
The Puerto Rican police suffered a blow two weeks ago with the arrests of about 100 officers on accusations of corruption linked to drug trafficking. EFE