Quick! Hide the gun

The parking lot in front of the main branch of Bank of Marshall Islands was the scene of an arrest last week.
The parking lot in front of the main branch of Bank of Marshall Islands was the scene of an arrest last week.

Marshall Islands social media was atwitter last week with stories about an attempted armed bank robbery in Majuro aborted by national police intervention. But while there was a gun, the Bank of Marshall Islands Uliga branch turned out to be a conveniently located hideout for the gun, not a target for robbery, said Marshall Islands Police Department Captain Vincent Tani, who is overseeing the investigation into the incident.

The incident, which saw the arrest of Mack Elanzo and his wife, Berta, occurred last Wednesday in Uliga.

According to police, Elanzo had told his brother in law to drive his taxi for him overnight Tuesday. But instead of doing this, Elanzo’s in-law picked up two of his friends and went for a drinking cruise, according to Tani.

The couple went in search of their taxi and eventually located it in front of Bank of Marshall Islands in Uliga Wednesday morning. Elanzo confronted his brother in law, who was sitting in the taxi with the two friends. As Elanzo was speaking to the in-law, one of the guys in the car swore at Elanzo, prompting Elanzo to punch him, said Tani.

While this scene was unfolding in the parking lot outside the bank, an off-duty policeman at the bank called national police to respond.

Tani said Elanzo had a handgun but it was in the vehicle he was driving and the gun was not involved in his assault on one of the passengers in the other car.

As national police officers arrived to take control of the situation, Elanzo is said to have walked back to his car and instructed his wife to take the gun and hide it. She went into the bank carrying the revolver in a holster, sat down on one of the long benches and placed the gun under the bench.

Meanwhile, the national police responders had arrested Elanzo outside the bank. The off-duty policeman then directed their attention to the wife and the gun. The police confiscated the gun and arrested her inside the bank.

Read more about this in the July 15, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.