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St Lucia police nab suspect in tourists' robbery

Monday, April 15, 2013 | 7:11 PM    

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (AP) — Police have arrested one of four suspects being sought for the armed robbery of sightseers from a cruise ship last week, St Lucia authorities said Monday.

Four masked men armed with homemade shotguns and pistols held up the passengers from Celebrity Cruise line's Eclipse vessel as they toured a botanical garden Friday in the scenic south western tourist town of Soufriere. No one was injured.

A police statement said the arrested man would be charged soon. Police alleged he has confessed to his role in the crime in a written statement. When he was detained, the suspect had $105 in US currency, which detectives believe was money stolen from the tourists, the police statement said.

Two other possible suspects were being questioned but it was unclear if authorities planned to arrest them.

Detectives say the cruise ship tourists were robbed of money, jewellery, cameras and cellphones and the gunmen escaped through the botanical garden's borders of foliage.

Celebrity Cruises said it was working closely with law enforcement and government officials in St Lucia. The tourists were on a 14-night Caribbean cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on April 6. It is due back Saturday.

The cruise line, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said 55 passengers and two crew members were robbed.

Overall crime rates are relatively low in tourism-dependent St Lucia, but there has been a worrying rise in violent crime the last few years that police have blamed largely on drug trafficking. In a few instances, foreign tourists have been the victims of violent assaults.

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