PHILIPSBURG – The Justice Department is still very actively searching for escaped prisoner Kathron “Cuchi” Fortune.
Fortune, who is considered armed and extremely dangerous, has been in hiding since his daring escape from two prison guards on February 15. This escape has raised much concern for safety and security in the entire community.
French and Dutch authorities continue the hunt in the form house searches, handing out of “wanted” posters, opening contact phone lines, posting of a financial reward, in order to get information from the community regarding the whereabouts of Fortune, but this has not yet given any positive results.
The Justice Department is still lacking that “golden tip” from the community in order recapture Fortune and put him back in prison where he belongs. Police believe Fortune is receiving help from persons within the community in the form of somewhere to remain in hiding, providing him with meals, clothing and transportation from one location to another. The Justice Department is again reminding the entire community that this type of assistance to any fugitive of the law is a very serious crime.
There are persons in the community, who have information, but remain reluctant to come forward with this information for fear that their identity might be released, and that they or a family member may become targets afterwards.
To eliminate all sense of insecurity regarding fear of their identity being released and the reluctance to give information to the authorities, who are continuing to ask the community for help and support to recapture Fortune, the police department is providing the following information:
The police tip line and its purpose: “The Police Force of St. Maarten spreads their news through press releases, press conferences, and social media. Whenever something happens on our island and the police are involved, the PR Department writes and sends information to the different media sources in St. Maarten,” a police press release stated.
“If information is about serious crime such as, murders or attempted murders, cases regarding fire-arms, robberies, human trafficking/smuggling and drug-related crimes, the police always places a contact telephone number in the press release. One of these numbers is the 9300 tip line number.
“For persons who have never called this number, and for others who want to know more about the procedures of the St. Maarten Police Force when someone wants to use it, we would like to explain what the use of that number is.
“The 9300 tip line number is the anonymous phone line for the police force. Daily with the exceptions of Saturday and Sunday between 8:00am and 4:00pm, this telephone line will be answered by an employee of our CID Department, who will precisely explain all steps you are required to take. You should follow these steps correctly.
“CID is short for Criminal Intelligence Division. When you make a call after the hours mentioned or during the weekend, an answering machine will record your information. If you choose to leave a message on the answering machine, you are requested to leave a clear and detailed message. If you want to make a personal appointment with one of the CID officers, this appointment will not take place in any of our police stations, but in a place and at a time both you and the CID officer agreed upon. If someone picks up the phone after office hours or during the weekend do not get alarmed and DO NOT hang up. Give the information to the officer on the line.
“In this department professionals are working very hard to solve the more serious crimes. These men and women many times rely on the assistance of third parties to get the final ‘piece of the puzzle’ to solve a major case.
“This is where you the public comes in. If ever you have any information about any serious crime or other criminal activity, make use of the free 9300 anonymous tip line and share it with the police department. The St. Maarten Police Force absolutely guarantees you that your call will always remain anonymous. Your identity and other personal information will not be shared with anyone. We will assure you that! Of course, if you get in contact with our CID Department, we expect you absolutely NOT to speak to other persons about this. If you share the information with others you will compromise the guarantee of anonymity,” concluded the press release.
The Justice Department is encouraging the entire community to help combat crime by doing their part as law abiding citizens by making use of this free anonymous police tip line to inform police about any crime or criminal activity they may have information on. “By doing your part you will undoubtedly help restore safety, security and tranquility in our society,” encouraged the release.
“DO NOT wait until you, a family member or anyone else in the community becomes a victim of crime. DO NOT wait until crime comes knocking at your door,” the police statement warned.