A criminal group, known as the Shoemaker Gang, has been wreaking havoc in the New Kingston area for more than five years, stretching the policemen and women at the New Kingston Police Post to their limits.
The criminal activity has become an increasing nuisance over the past three years despite the police making an estimated 80 arrests.
Last month, 23-year-old Kemar Jones, alias Boobie, who is believed to be the deputy leader of the gang, was apprehended and subsequently jailed for two years after pleading guilty to the theft of a Samsung smartphone at the intersection of Holborn and Trafalgar roads.
Deputy Superintendent Christopher Murdock, who has been in charge of the New Kingston Police Post for more than three years, said that the problem is a challenging one because of the vast area that they have to cover to bring the criminals to book.
He explained that gang members who have been responsible for the robbery of items valued at millions of dollars, keep a close eye on the police’s single patrol unit, and strike when it is out of range.
“It’s not just in the immediate New Kingston area, they also work in the vicinity of Holborn and Ruthven Roads in the area of the Shoemaker Gully that runs all the way down to Medical Associates Hospital and into sections of Maxfield Avenue,” he said.
“That is a wide area which makes people vulnerable when the patrol vehicle has moved on to other areas.”
Murdock said the criminals target unsuspecting motorists and pedestrians, stealing smartphones, laptops, and jewellery.
One police officer estimated that the gang has committed more than 250 robberies in the past five years which yield the gang members between $170,000 and $300,000 a month from their nefarious deeds.
Murdock said the robberies are committed mainly by men who masquerade as women selling sexual favours. He said some persons seek out these men for sexual favours and eventually become victims. These persons, he said, are reluctant to either report the crimes or assist in helping to dispose of cases in a timely manner by attending identification parades.