~ Stomp: Permits were requested, were for self-defence ~
SIMPSON BAY--The owners of Topper's Restaurant were arrested on Wednesday after police found a fully-loaded .22 calibre handgun and a box with 83 bullets at one of their restaurants and a fully-loaded .38 revolver at their home.
Confirming his clients' arrest, attorney-at-law Remco Stomp told The Daily Herald last night that permits had been requested for the firearms, which were in "properly locked vaults" and were kept for "self-defence," as his clients had received death threats and had been the victims of multiple assaults.
Police spokesperson Inspector Ricardo Henson said in a press release that a police search team had visited the "popular Topper's Restaurant" in Simpson Bay yesterday based on information received that the "popular island businessman" was in possession of one or more illegal firearms.
Henson said police had found a small fully-loaded .22 calibre handgun and a box containing 83 bullets of the same calibre in the office of the restaurant in Simpson Bay. H.A.D. (66) was arrested on the spot for possession of an illegal firearm. Henson said a second search had taken place at the owners' home where a fully loaded .38 revolver was found. D.'s wife M.R.D. (48) also was arrested.
Both firearms were confiscated for further investigation. Henson said both individuals were taken to the Philipsburg police station for questioning. The wife was released after questioning, while the husband remained in custody for further investigation.
Stomp said the guns had been acquired in conjunction with a long-pending request for a firearms licence. He said his client had been eligible to receive the requested permit as he had been the victim of multiple assaults on his businesses and personnel.
He said too that his client had received various death threats. "In addition, two of his most personal friends got murdered in cold blood on this island," Stomp said, alluding to the brutal slaying D.'s business partner Michael King and his wife Thelma in their Cupecoy condominium some time back.
"The business community on the island is suffering tremendously from the random assaults and robberies on their businesses. Local law enforcement has proven not to be able to stem the ever-increasing rate of assaults and armed robberies," Stomp said. "The detention of my client, who provides employment for many families on this island, will not improve the ever-increasing sense of insecurity within the business community and with the general public in St. Maarten."